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Poll shows Biden and Trump neck and neck in North Carolina

Poll shows Biden and Trump neck and neck in North Carolina
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Joe BidenJoe BidenFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE are running neck and neck in North Carolina, with the former vice president carrying a statistically insignificant 2-point lead, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Thursday.

The poll shows Biden garnering 47 percent of the vote to Trump’s 45 percent in the Tar Heel State. Another 3 percent of registered voters plan to back Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen, while 3 percent remain undecided. 

Trump’s favorability rating among North Carolina voters breaks even, with 46 percent reporting a favorable opinion of the president and 46 percent reporting an unfavorable view. 

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Biden’s favorability, meanwhile, is slightly underwater, with 43 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view of the former vice president to 48 percent who reported an unfavorable opinion. 

North Carolina’s hotly contested Senate race is even closer than the presidential contest, with Democrat Cal Cunningham and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisBiden and Trump neck and neck in three Southern states: poll 10 under-the-radar races to watch in November Pence adviser Marty Obst tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R) running in a statistical tie at 46 percent and 45 percent respectively, according to the Monmouth poll. 

Both parties have a lot riding on North Carolina this year, seeing it as a crucial part of their path, not only to the White House, but to the Senate majority. The state went for Trump in 2016 by less than 3 points, putting it firmly in play for both parties this year.

“North Carolina has been in play for each of the last three presidential elections and it is going to be that way again this year, especially with a pivotal Senate race sharing the ballot,” Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. 

In the state’s gubernatorial race, incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper (D) holds a sizable 11-point lead over his Republican challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, capturing 51 percent support to Forest’s 40 percent.

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Murray said that Cooper’s wide lead in the race is due in part to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed in the poll said that the governor has done well handling the outbreak in his state, with less than one-third of respondents — 31 percent — saying he has handled the situation poorly. 

“Cooper’s handling of the pandemic is one reason why he is in a much better position than Democrats running at the top of the ticket,” Murray said. 

Perceptions of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, meanwhile, are more mixed. A scant majority of respondents — 51 percent — said the president has done a bad job managing the coronavirus outbreak, while 46 percent said that he has done a good job, the poll found. 

Trump in recent weeks has sought to draw the national discussion away from the coronavirus pandemic, choosing instead to home in on a public safety message. He’s condemned people protesting police brutality as “agitators,” while warning that Democratic control in Washington would bring crime into suburban communities. 

But the Monmouth poll suggests that North Carolina voters are not particularly concerned about that happening. Seventy-five percent of respondents said that they are not worried about such changes in their communities, while only 24 percent said that it is of at least some concern to them.

The Monmouth University poll surveyed 401 registered voters in North Carolina from Aug.29 to Sept. 1. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.