West Long Branch, NJ – The presidential race in North Carolina is extremely tight with Hillary Clinton holding a negligible 2 point lead over Donald Trump. Incumbent U.S. senator Richard Burr has a similarly small 2 point lead in his race for reelection. The Monmouth University Poll also finds that HB2, the law regarding transgender public restrooms that most voters see harming the Tar Heel State’s image, looks to be a drag on Pat McCrory’s bid for a second term as governor.
Among North Carolina voters likely to cast ballots in November’s presidential election, 44% currently support Clinton and 42% back Trump. Another 7% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 1% name another candidate, and 6% are undecided.
Trump does nearly as well as Clinton in getting the backing of fellow partisans, with 86% of Republicans supporting their party’s nominee and 91% of Democrats backing their standard bearer. Independents prefer Trump (44%) over Clinton (30%), with 15% supporting Johnson.
Clinton leads by 63 points among black, Hispanic, and Asian voters (76% to 13%), while Trump leads by 23 points among white voters (54% to 31%). In 2012, Barack Obama won non-white voters by 75 points, while Mitt Romney took the white vote by 37 points. Trump is currently doing about equally as well among white men (51% to 29%) and white women (56% to 33%), although is losing white voters with a college degree by 39% to 43% for Clinton. Trump maintains a sizable advantage among white voters without a college degree (66% to 22%).
“North Carolina has given us tight presidential races over the last two cycles and this year appears to be no different,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Tar Heel voters give nearly identical ratings to the two major party nominees. Just 34% have a favorable opinion of Trump and 54% have an unfavorable view, while 36% have a favorable opinion of Clinton and 52% have an unfavorable view. The findings are similar when it comes to “looking out for the little guy.” Only 40% say Trump would do a good job at this while 52% say he would do a bad job. Likewise, just 42% say Clinton would do a good job looking out for the little guy while 49% say she would do a bad job.
Turning to the U.S. Senate race, GOP incumbent Richard Burr holds an insignificant 45% to 43% lead over former Democratic state legislator Deborah Ross. Another 4% say they will vote for Libertarian Sean Haugh and 8% are undecided. Burr has the support of 94% of Republicans while Ross has the backing of 89% of Democrats. Independents prefer Burr by 46% to 31%.
Burr earns a largely positive job rating from North Carolina voters – 46% approve and 30% disapprove, with about 1-in-4 (24%) having no opinion of his performance. Fewer voters have a personal opinion of their two-term senator, with 32% holding a favorable view and 21% having an unfavorable view of him personally, while 47% have no opinion. Far fewer voters feel they know Ross, who earns a 23% favorable and 6% unfavorable personal rating, with 71% who have formed no opinion of her.
In the contest for governor, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper holds a significant 52% to 43% lead over incumbent Pat McCrory. Another 3% say they will vote for Libertarian Lon Cecil and 3% are undecided.
Cooper has the support of 93% of Democratic voters, while McCrory gets the backing of 89% of Republicans. Independents are divided at 47% for Cooper and 45% for McCrory. Cooper has a net positive personal rating of 38% favorable and 18% unfavorable, with 44% expressing no opinion of him. McCrory’s personal rating is more divided at 39% favorable and 41% unfavorable, with 20% having no opinion of him.
Importantly, Tar Heel voters are split on the incumbent’s performance as governor, with 45% approving of the job McCrory has done and 46% disapproving. A key element in the governor’s rating is his support for House Bill 2 or HB2, the controversial law that prohibits local governments from allowing for transgender public restrooms.
A majority of voters (55%) disapprove of HB2 compared to fewer than 4-in-10 (36%) who approve of HB2. Among voters who approve of the law, 74% are backing McCrory in the governor’s race. Among those who disapprove of it, 72% are voting for Cooper.
“McCrory is trying to take control of the HB2 debate with a new TV ad. As of right now, though, North Carolina voters feel it has hurt the state, which is helping Cooper’s bid to unseat the incumbent,” said Murray.
The Monmouth University Poll found that 7-in-10 voters (70%) feel the passage of HB2 has been bad for North Carolina’s reputation nationally. Only 9% say it has been good for the state’s image and just 14% say it has had no impact. Even among those who approve of the law itself, 41% say HB2 has been bad for the state’s reputation compared to 21% who say it has been good and 28% who say it has had no impact.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 20 to 23, 2016 with 401 North Carolina residents likely to vote in the November election. This sample has a margin of error of ±4.9 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
QUESTIONS AND RESULTS
(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)
1/2. If the election for President was today, would you vote for Donald Trump the Republican, Hillary Clinton the Democrat, or Gary Johnson the Libertarian? [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
|(VOL) Other candidate||1%|
3. If the election for U.S. Senate was today, would you vote for Richard Burr the Republican, Deborah Ross the Democrat, or Sean Haugh the Libertarian? [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Richard Burr or Deborah Ross?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
4. If the election for governor was today, would you vote for Pat McCrory the Republican, Roy Cooper the Democrat, or Lon Cecil the Libertarian? [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Pat McCrory or Roy Cooper?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
Regardless of who you may support for president…
[QUESTIONS 5 & 6 WERE ROTATED]
5. Is your general impression of Donald Trump favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
6. Is your general impression of Hillary Clinton favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?
[QUESTIONS 7 & 8 WERE ROTATED]
7. Do you think Donald Trump as president would do a good job or bad job of looking out for the little guy?
|(VOL) Don’t know||8%|
8. Do you think Hillary Clinton as president would do a good job or bad job of looking out for the little guy?
|(VOL) Don’t know||9%|
Turning to the Senate race…
[QUESTIONS 9 & 10 WERE ROTATED]
9. Is your general impression of Richard Burr favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
10. Is your general impression of Deborah Ross favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?
11. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Richard Burr is doing as U.S. senator?
|(VOL) No opinion||24%|
Turning to the governor’s race…
[QUESTIONS 12 & 13 WERE ROTATED]
12. Is your general impression of Pat McCrory favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
13. Is your general impression of Roy Cooper favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Pat McCrory is doing as governor?
|(VOL) No opinion||9%|
15. Do you approve or disapprove of H.B. 2 – the state law that prohibits local governments from allowing transgendered people to use the public restroom of their choice?
|(VOL) No opinion||9%|
16. Regardless of whether you approve of the law do you think passing H.B. 2 has been good or bad for North Carolina’s reputation nationally, or has it had no impact on the state’s reputation?
|(VOL) Don’t know||7%|
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from August 20 to 23, 2016 with a random sample of 401 likely North Carolina voters. Interviews were conducted by a live caller in English, including 350 drawn from a list of registered voters (201 landline / 149 cell phone) and a random digit dial supplement of 51 cell phone interviews. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The final sample is weighted for age, gender, race and partisanship based on voter list and U.S. Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field), Aristotle (voter list sample), and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.