Budd holds eight-point lead over Beasley in North Carolina Senate race: poll

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Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) has an 8-point lead over former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in the Tarheel State’s Senate election in November, according to a new East Carolina University (ECU) poll released Monday.

Budd wins the support of 47 percent of registered voters in the poll, while 39 percent of registered voters back Beasley, the Democratic Party’s nominee. Another 12 percent remain undecided, in a sign that the two candidates’ standings could fluctuate.

Both candidates won their parties’ respective nominations during last week’s primaries. Budd defeated former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker, largely on the strength of former President Trump’s endorsement, while Beasley coasted against lesser-known contenders.

Budd’s lead is bolstered by strong advantages among GOP-leaning constituencies, including a 20-point edge among voters without a four-year college degree and a 35-point lead among voters 65 years and older. Beasley, meanwhile, has just a 4-point lead among voters with a four-year college degree or more and voters under 40 years old.

The poll also suggests that Beasley could be weighed down by a political atmosphere that is anticipated to heavily favor Republicans.

President Biden’s approval rating is deeply underwater, with only 35 percent of registered voters approving of the job he’s doing and a whopping 55 percent disapproving.

“President Joe Biden’s current job approval rating of 35% in North Carolina presents a major obstacle for Democrats running for office in the state. Although it is still very early, Ted Budd’s current 8-point lead will be difficult for Cheri Beasley to overcome unless President Biden’s numbers show marked improvement in North Carolina over the next several months,” said Peter Francia, director of the ECU Center for Survey Research.

The poll comes as Democrats hope to make the race for retiring Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) seat competitive.

The open-seat race hands Democrats the opportunity to run in a swing state against someone who does not boast the advantage of incumbency. On top of that, Beasley was elected statewide in 2014 to the state Supreme Court.

Still, the party has been unsuccessful in the state outside of its governorship, losing several consecutive Senate and presidential races in North Carolina.

Most recently, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) fended off Democrat Cal Cunningham in a tight race in 2020 after reports surfaced of an extramarital affair by Cunningham. Trump also won in North Carolina that year despite losing to Biden nationally.

The ECU poll surveyed 635 registered North Carolina voters from May 19 to May 20 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

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