North Carolina voters nearly split on Trump and Biden; Cunningham has slight edge on Tillis, poll finds

Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY
·3 min read

Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are nearly tied in North Carolina only two weeks from Election Day, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll.

Biden has the support of 49% of likely North Carolina voters while Trump has the support of 48% of likely voters.

The presidential race isn’t the only thing split in North Carolina. The U.S. Senate race tight between incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

Cunningham leads Tillis by a small margin with support of 49% of likely voters while Tillis is supported by 47%. Cunningham has remained competitive in the race despite revelations earlier this year about sexual messages he sent to a California strategist.

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The poll finds Biden doing better with moderate voters than former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Sixty-four percent of moderate voters support Biden while only 30% support Trump – a 34-point lead, larger than Clinton’s 20-point edge.

While Biden leads with moderates as well as Raleigh-Durham residents, 82% of white evangelical Protestants support Trump compared to 17% supporting Biden. Trump also leads among rural voters, the poll found.

The majority of likely voters trust Biden to handle the coronavirus and disapprove of how Trump is handling the pandemic. Only 45% of likely voters said they trust Trump to handle the coronavirus compared to the 51% that say that of Biden.

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Voters still have a positive view of Trump and the economy, with 54% of likely voters approving of the way he is handling the economy and 52% of them preferring Trump to handle it over Biden.

North Carolina Independents and college graduates are two groups that the poll found to have significantly shifted from 2016. Independents largely supported Trump over Clinton (53%-37%) but are now almost evenly split between Biden and Trump (47%-46%).

The opposite occurred among college graduates, with the group being split 49%-48% in 2016. The poll found college graduates have dramatically shifted to Biden over Trump (60%-38%).

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Although Biden leads among college educated voters, 65% of likely voters don’t have college degrees. Among non-college graduates, non-college whites is a large group for Trump with 67% backing Trump over the 27% for Biden.

Since 1968, North Carolina has gone for the Republican candidate in every presidential election except for two – for former Presidents Barack Obama in 2008 and Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Trump beat Clinton by 3 percentage points – winning the state’s 15 electoral votes in the 2016 election.

The poll was conducted Oct.12-17 among 706 registered voters and 646 likely voters in North Carolina. The margin of error is plus/minus 4.5 percentage points.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election 2020: Trump, Biden nearly tied in North Carolina