Under the Dome

Trump’s lead growing in NC, poll says

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the media and calls them "Liars" as he speaks to supporters at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Friday, December 4, 2015.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to the media and calls them "Liars" as he speaks to supporters at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Friday, December 4, 2015. cliddy@newsobserver.com

A new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found that Donald Trump is the top pick of a third of likely Republican primary voters in North Carolina.

The liberal-leaning firm’s poll of 537 N.C. Republican primary voters – conducted in the days following Trump’s rally in Raleigh Friday – found that 33 percent backed the outspoken billionaire.

That’s an increase from 31 percent in PPP’s October poll. Trump has consistently surged in PPP surveys since July, when he was the preference of 16 percent of voters.

Dome notes that PPP’s questioning offers voters a list of all 14 Republican candidates in alphabetical order – and Trump is the final name in the list before voters are asked to state their preference.

Other notable findings from the PPP poll:

Cruz edges out Carson: Sen. Ted Cruz came in second with 16 percent, with neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio tied for third at 14 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was next with a distant 5 percent.

“The candidate with the most momentum in North Carolina compared to our previous poll is Ted Cruz,” the polling firm said in a news release.

Carson, Trump popular: Carson had the highest percentage of responses who said they had a “favorable opinion” of him: 64 percent of those surveyed. About 63 percent said the same of Trump.

Bush rates poorly: Only 31 percent said they have a “favorable opinion” of Bush, while 48 percent said they viewed him unfavorably.

Republicans want curbs on Muslims: About 48 percent of likely Republican primary voters say they’d back “a national database of Muslims in the United States,” while 35 percent say they’d support shutting down mosques. Not surprisingly, those numbers are higher among Trump supporters – 67 percent favoring the database, 51 percent against mosques.

“It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump’s newest round of comments about Muslims hurting him, at least in a state with a Republican electorate as conservative as North Carolina’s,” PPP president Dean Debnam said in a news release. “Few of his supporters even think the practice of Islam should currently be legal, much less that more Muslims should be allowed to enter the country.”

Full results from the poll are available here.

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