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In first post-verdict poll, Trump up 5 on Biden in North Carolina

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(The Center Square) – In the first sampling of North Carolina voters following a Manhattan jury’s decision on Thursday of last week, former President Donald Trump is a five-point leader over President Joe Biden.

Conducted Friday through Monday, the ECU Poll of 1,332 registered voters had Trump ahead 48%-43% with 4% undecided and 3% saying they would support an independent, minor party or write-in candidate. The credibility interval, similar to a margin of error, is +/- 3.1%.

The poll asked if Trump’s guilty verdicts on 34 felony counts would impact their voting. For 37%, the verdict makes no difference on their choice; 32% are now more likely to vote for Trump; and 29% are now less likely to vote for Trump. Among independent voters, who have the largest voting bloc in the state at 37% according to registrations, 45% said the verdicts have no impact on their vote, 27% are less likely now to vote for Trump, and 26% are more likely to vote for him.

Tight in every poll for months, gubernatorial candidates Josh Stein and Mark Robinson were inside the credibility interval. Stein led 44%-43% with 11% undecided and 4% choosing the option of some other candidate.

“Republicans have won the presidential vote in North Carolina in every election except one (in 2008) since 1980,” said Dr. Peter Francia, director of the East Carolina University Center for Survey Research. “In light of that history and Donald Trump’s current five-point lead in North Carolina, it seems fair to conclude that Trump is the current favorite to win in North Carolina in 2024. The race for governor, however, is much less clear. Josh Stein performs well with independent voters, but Trump’s strength and coattails will surely help Mark Robinson.”

Based on ad spending and consensus of politicos, the key or swing states are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada. They combine for 93 electoral college votes, with Pennsylvania’s 19 the most of the group and Nevada’s six the only one not in double digits.

While pitched as a toss-up state, Biden winning the 16 electoral college votes of North Carolina would be considered a significant upset. North Carolinians have chosen every Republican presidential candidate starting with Richard Nixon in 1968, except for Jimmy Carter (1976, not 1980 versus Ronald Reagan) and Barack Obama (2008, not 2012 versus Mitt Romney). Trump beat Biden 49.9%-48.6% in North Carolina with more than 5.5 million votes cast in 2020, and he turned back Hillary Clinton 49.8%-46.2% with more than 4.7 million votes cast in 2016.

Similar to the Republican dominance in presidential elections, Democrats have historical domination in the race for governor.

North Carolina had a Republican governor when the Civil War ended in 1865. Only seven have been elected since; three of those were before 1880 and only three have come since 1900.

The analysis checked North Carolinians on several other subjects.

Inflation or the overall cost of living (42%) was most important among issues facing them, with the economy in general (17%), state law on abortion (13%) and border security (10%) well back.

Only 37% approved of Biden’s performance as president, with 55% disapproving.

Gov. Roy Cooper earned a 46% approval rating, with 39% disapproving and 15% unsure.

The ECU poll was bullseye accurate in the 2022 midterms when sampling Georgia voters on the U.S. Senate election, where Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

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