North Carolina has been bombarded with polling results over the past week, and it’s hard to figure out who’s ahead in the presidential, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests.
Some polls have Republicans Donald Trump and Gov. Pat McCrory with a narrow lead. Others give the narrow presidential advantage to Democrat Hillary Clinton and a healthy lead for McCrory’s opponent, attorney general Roy Cooper. The leader in the U.S. Senate race also varies between polls.
With at least six polls released in the past week, it’s helpful to focus more on RealClearPolitics’ polling average than on the individual polls, which use differing methodologies and sometimes have partisan leanings.
One thing’s clear from the average: The races – particularly presidential and Senate – are tight. And they’re getting even tighter.
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In the presidential race in North Carolina, RealClearPolitics gave Trump a 0.8 percentage point lead over Clinton as of Monday afternoon. While the presidential race has been close here for months – and it’s still a statistical tie – it’s the first time Trump has been ahead in the average since June.
In the governor’s race, Cooper has a 3.6 percentage point lead over McCrory in the RealClearPolitics average. That’s down from a 6.3 percentage point lead earlier in September. While two polls in the past week gave McCrory a slight lead, the governor hasn’t had a lead in the average since early August.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr has a 1.2 percentage point lead over Democrat Deborah Ross on RealClearPolitics. Burr’s lead has been cut sharply, down from 3.7 percentage points at the beginning of September. Two polls in the past week have given Ross a narrow lead, while others continue to favor Burr.