Biden, Cunningham hold narrow leads in North Carolina: poll

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at The Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Warm Springs, Georgia on October 27, 2020.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a narrow lead over President Trump in North Carolina, while Democrat Cal Cunningham holds a similarly slim lead in the Tar Heel State’s closely watched Senate race in a new survey released Thursday.

The New York Times-Siena College poll shows Biden with the support of 48 percent of likely voters and Trump with 45 percent support, a difference that falls within the survey’s margin of error. Another 4 percent are undecided or refused to answer.

The results of the latest poll are statistically similar to the same survey from earlier this month, which showed Biden with a 4-point edge. Trump won the state in 2016 by just under 4 points in 2016, but polls this cycle show the race in North Carolina to be a margin-of-error contest.

Biden has opened up leads among certain Democratic-leaning demographics, including a 51-44 edge among women, a 61-31 advantage among voters between the ages of 18 and 29 and an 88-5 lead with Black voters. Trump, meanwhile, maintains a narrow 2-point lead among men, an 8-point advantage among seniors and a 19-point lead among white voters.

Biden leads by 15 points among independents.

Trump likely needs to hold on to North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes to win reelection, though Biden has paths to victory without winning the battleground state.

The president will campaign in North Carolina Thursday, marking his ninth visit there since early September, an indication of how important the state is to his reelection bid.

In the state’s Senate race, Cunningham, a former state senator, gets the support of 46 percent of likely voters, while Sen. Thom Tillis (R) trails with 43 percent. Another 6 percent are undecided or refused to answer. Cunningham led by 4 points earlier this month, a statistically insignificant difference. 

Similar to Biden, Cunningham holds a 6-point edge among women, a 16-point advantage over voters under the age of 30 and an 84-7 lead among Black voters. But he was also able to cut down Tillis’s lead among seniors to just 4 points and tied the incumbent 45-45 among men.

Cunningham leads by 14 points among independents.

The number of undecided voters shrunk by more than half from earlier this month, when 15 percent of likely voters said they were undecided. While the race has been upended by reports of Cunningham’s extramarital affair and Tillis’s coronavirus diagnosis, the latest poll indicates that voters are retreating to their partisan corners. 

Tillis is one of several Republican senators Democrats are targeting this year. The party is particularly confident it will flip GOP-held Senate seats in Arizona and Colorado and is also targeting Susan Collins of Maine and Joni Ernst of Iowa, among an array of others. Republicans, Meanwhile, are expected to flip Doug Jones’s seat in Alabama and are going on offense against Michigan’s Gary Peters. 

The GOP currently holds a 53-47 majority in the Senate. 

The New York Times-Siena College poll surveyed 1,034 likely North Carolina voters from Oct. 23 to 27 and has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Tags Cal Cunningham Donald Trump Donald Trump doug jones Gary Peters Joe Biden Joe Biden Joni Ernst Susan Collins Thom Tillis Thom Tillis

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