Local Politics

Poll: Burr leads Marshall in Senate race

Posted June 25, 2010
Updated June 26, 2010

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— Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr would easily defeat Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall if the election were held now, according to a WRAL News Poll released Friday.

SurveyUSA polled 617 likely voters statewide for WRAL on Wednesday and Thursday, and 50 percent said they would vote for Burr, compared with 40 percent for Marshall. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College, said the the gap between the candidates is bad news for the Marshall campaign, considering that the poll was conducted while Marshall was featured prominently in the news following her victory Tuesday in a runoff election.

"The day before and morning of, she's dominating the headlines (and is) the lead story on television, and yet there's still a double-digit deficit," McLennan said.

Burr holds a 21-point lead among male voters, while Marshall's lead among female voters is 3 percent, according to the poll. He also has commanding leads among voters under age 35, whites and people in the Charlotte and Triad regions.

Marshall has an eight-point lead in eastern North Carolina, while the Triangle is a toss-up between the candidates.

Elaine Marshall Prof says Marshall has time to close gap with Burr

"I think this is an opportunity for the Marshall campaign to try to shore up support among the female population," McLennan said. "We've still got the rest of summer into Labor Day to go, where people really aren't paying attention to electoral politics like they will after Labor Day, so we may see some shifts in these numbers."

A poll question about offshore drilling found North Carolina residents continue to support the idea, despite the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Forty-nine percent of 996 residents surveyed said they back oil and gas exploration off the North Carolina coast, while 41 percent said they oppose the idea. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The oil spill also didn't make the environment a more pressing national issue in many people's minds, according to the poll. Four percent listed the environment as the most important national issue, up from 3 percent in a WRAL News Poll conducted in March, before the spill occurred.

The economy was named as the most important issue by 63 percent of those surveyed. Health care was named by 9 percent of respondents, followed by immigration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by 7 percent each.

More than three-fifths of those surveyed disapprove of the federal government's response to the oil spill, while 28 percent said they support the government's efforts.

Regarding the state economy, respondents were a bit more optimistic than two months ago.

Twenty-nine percent of those polled this week said North Carolina's economy would be stronger a year from now, while 30 percent said it would be weaker, and 36 percent said it would be about the same. In an April poll, 26 percent of respondents were bullish on the economy, with 34 percent in a bear mood.


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  • geosol Jun 25, 2010

    Cool! Look for tons of ads featuring your winger buddy taking millions from the oil and banking industries. Too bad for the average North Carolinian that has suffered because of their failed policies. This will be fun!!!!!

  • whatelseisnew Jun 25, 2010

    "Hate to be the bearer of bad news for you Rs and Tea Partiers but there are more registered Democrats now in NC than Republicans. So to say NC is an R state now is a little off base."

    Hate to break it to you but it has been that way for a long time. Sadly the ones that vote the brand label have given us a corrupt State Government.

    "So much for anti-incumbancy thing we have been hearing about."

    Part of the problems is both parties wield too much money and too much influence. Burr was going to be the default R candidate and unfortunately we get another lifer type politician on the D side of the ledger. We could put a libertarian candidate in the seat, but people tend to just mark the D or the R on the top of the ballot because they are lazy.

  • meh2 Jun 25, 2010

    Nice, but meaningless. November is a long time from now.

  • ratherbnnc Jun 25, 2010

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news for you Rs and Tea Partiers but there are more registered Democrats now in NC than Republicans. So to say NC is an R state now is a little off base.

  • Quagmire Jun 25, 2010

    So much for anti-incumbancy thing we have been hearing about.

  • mep Jun 25, 2010

    Burr voted against continuing to extend unemployment benefits and all the added pork because there was no way to pay for them. And this appears to be his biggest reason for voting against many of the bills. We can not continue to borrow and spend. Digging this country deeper and deeper into debt is NOT the answer! Thankfully Burr knows this. Besides... Obama is suppose to fix EVERYTHING... and he has until November to do it. After that, I will actually be happier to see Congressional gridlock again. Its better than where we have been heading for the past 18 months.

  • jobchick2004 Jun 25, 2010

    Elaine is great-I will vote for her-but I don't see Burr unseated. NC is still primarily (and unfortunately) a Republican state.

  • rob2lw2 Jun 25, 2010

    just wait to all the unemployed whose benefits have expired fing out he voted NO to the extention

  • BigfootBeliever Jun 25, 2010

    Burr over Marshall. Game, Match, Set. Period.

  • UNCfuturealumi Jun 25, 2010

    Yeah right? is this news..no more crooked Dems to be elected in this good State..We are now Rep...