Trump, Tillis trail Democratic challengers in North Carolina: poll

Trump, Tillis trail Democratic challengers in North Carolina: poll
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs Team Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-N.C.) are trailing their Democratic rivals in North Carolina with less than three weeks to go before Election Day, according to a New York Times-Siena College poll released Wednesday. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' MORE leads Trump at the top of the ticket, garnering 46 percent support to the president’s 42 percent. Meanwhile, Democrat Cal Cunningham notched 41 percent support to Tillis’s 37 percent. 

North Carolina is a pivotal state in the battle for control of both the White House and the Senate. Trump carried it in 2016 by nearly 4 points, and a loss there would deal a major blow to his reelection prospects. 


Tillis is also among the most vulnerable GOP senators facing reelection this year, and Democrats see his seat as a crucial part of their path to the Senate majority. The party almost certainly needs to pick up at least four Republican seats this year to win control of the Senate.

The poll suggests that the Senate race has largely remained stable, despite Tillis’s coronavirus diagnosis earlier this month and revelations that Cunningham had exchanged romantic text messages with a woman who is not his wife. 

Cunningham has acknowledged sending the messages and has apologized even as he has refused to answer questions about the relationship and whether he carried on other affairs.

But the scandal has sunk Cunningham’s favorability numbers. According to the poll, 40 percent view the Democratic Senate hopeful favorably compared with 41 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of him. 

That’s a significant change from last month, when a New York Times-Siena College poll found that 46 percent of voters viewed him favorably and 29 percent viewed him unfavorably.


Cunningham also suffers from a lack of voter trust. Only 27 percent of respondents said they believe Cunningham is “honest and trustworthy” while 48 percent said he is not.

But Tillis doesn’t perform much better on that front. Just 30 percent said they believe the first-term senator is trustworthy compared with 48 percent who said he is not. 

The more recent New York Times-Siena College poll surveyed 627 likely voters in North Carolina from Oct. 9-13. It has a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.