New ECU poll shows Trump with slight lead, other competitive races in North Carolina

A new political poll by East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research shows competitive races in North Carolina, including for president.

The poll, conducted Aug. 29-30 after the Republican National Convention, shows President Donald Trump with a small lead over former Vice President Joe Biden, 49% to 47%, with 3% of respondents undecided. With a margin of error in the poll of plus or minus 3.4%, the race is a statistical dead heat.

Of those who answered that they intended to vote for either Trump or Biden, 96% said they had already made up their minds, with just 4% indicating they are still open to changing their minds.

“Our poll results show that there are few undecided voters and few voters who are willing to change their mind, whether they are currently Biden or Trump supporters,” said Peter Francia, director of ECU’s Center for Survey Research. “This suggests that campaign efforts to persuade voters are unlikely to make a significant difference. Instead, the outcome of the Trump-Biden contest in North Carolina will hinge on which party — Democrats or Republicans — does a better job of turning out their supporters to vote. By extension, the results in the Trump-Biden election will almost certainly affect several of the highly competitive down-ballot races as well.”

The poll indicates that the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina will be close, with Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham each favored by 44% of respondents. Nine percent indicated they were undecided or favored another candidate.

For governor, the poll reveals 50% of respondents would vote for Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper over Republican challenger Dan Forest, who was picked by 40% percent. Eight percent were undecided or selected another candidate. Cooper continues to receive high marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with 54% approving compared to 35% disapproving.

Several other state races are tight as well, with Republican Mark Robinson having a 43% to 40% margin over Democrat Yvonne Lewis Holley for lieutenant governor, and Republican Dale Folwell having a 41% to 40% margin over Democrat Ronnie Chatterji for treasurer. Roughly 14% of likely voters remain undecided in both contests.

The sample consisted of 1,101 likely voters in North Carolina, and the data were weighted by age, education, race, gender, region, mode and 2016 election modeling.

More information on the poll is available online.


ECU News Services
Howard House, 1001 E. Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-328-6481

Contact: Peter Francia, director, Center for Survey Research,