Budd leads GOP rivals in NC Senate primary: poll
Rep. Ted Budd holds a double-digit lead in North Carolina’s GOP Senate primary, according to a new poll from The Hill and Emerson College, a reversal from previous polls showing him trailing former Gov. Pat McCrory.
The survey shows Budd with 38 percent support among likely GOP primary voters, compared with 22 percent for McCrory. Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) comes in a distant third with 9 percent, though 23 percent of likely primary voters remain undecided.
The latest survey could be an outlier, as other polls have shown either a tight race or McCrory with an edge over Budd.
Budd appears to get significant help from former President Trump’s endorsement. Fifty-nine percent of likely primary voters in the survey say Trump’s imprimatur makes them more likely to back a candidate.
The latest survey is welcome news for both Trump and Budd ahead of a campaign rally the two will appear at in North Carolina this weekend.
Trump has reportedly been concerned about Budd’s standing and tried to recruit Walker, another ally, to run for a House seat instead of continuing his Senate bid. Walker brushed off that pressure, reiterating in January that he will stay in the race to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
The poll also suggests that Budd would fare well against former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, the presumptive Democratic nominee in the race.
Budd leads Beasley 50-43 among registered voters, while Walker leads her 47-42 and McCrory trails her 43-41, a difference that falls within the survey’s margin of error.
However, Democrats hope that the ugly Republican primary, which has been fought largely along battle lines related to Trump’s role in the GOP, could give Beasley a leg up given that she is anticipated to coast to the nomination.
Burr’s open seat is also a lynchpin of both parties’ strategies for winning the Senate majority later this year.
The Hill-Emerson College poll surveyed 1,047 registered voters and 508 likely GOP primary voters from April 2 to April 4. The poll has margins of error of 3 percentage points and 4.3 percentage points, respectively.