Polls are improving for Democratic candidates Roy Cooper and Deborah Ross this week, but the races for Senate and governor remain tight, and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s narrow lead in North Carolina remains steady.
The trends are according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of North Carolina polls. The average is more reliable than individual polls, which use a variety of methodologies.
In the Senate race, Republican Sen. Richard Burr has a 0.8 percentage point lead over Ross, (46.3 percent for Burr and 45.5 percent for Ross; Libertarian Sean Haugh is not included in the average).
That’s a sharp change from Oct. 26, when Burr had a 3.2 percentage point lead over Ross in the polling average. But while Ross had a narrow lead in the average in late September, Burr has been in the lead since Oct. 10.
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The polling doesn’t yet reflect any opinion shifts following a leaked recording Monday in which Burr joked about a bullseye on Hillary Clinton. Burr has since apologized for what he said was an “inappropriate” remark.
In the governor’s race, RealClearPolitics has Democrat Roy Cooper with a 3 percentage point lead over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory (48.8 percent for Cooper, 45.8 percent for McCrory).
That number is a shift back in Cooper’s favor after last week, when the polling average showed the attorney general’s lead had narrowed to 0.5 percentage points. Earlier in October, Cooper’s lead had been as high as 5.4 percentage points, but McCrory appears to have gotten a popularity boost in the wake of his response to Hurricane Matthew.
In the presidential race for North Carolina, RealClearPolitics’s polling average has Clinton with a 2 percentage point lead over Trump (46.8 percent for Clinton, 44.8 percent for Trump and 3.7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson).
While Clinton’s lead has grown in national polls, it remained largely unchanged in North Carolina throughout October – ranging from a 2 percentage point lead over Trump to 3 percentage points.