Local Politics

Poll: Burr solidifying lead in Senate race

Posted September 14, 2010

WRAL News Poll image

— U.S. Sen. Richard Burr continues to widen his lead over Democrat Elaine Marshall in his bid for re-election, according to a WRAL News Poll released Tuesday.

SurveyUSA polled 582 likely voters statewide Friday through Monday and found that, if the election were held now, Burr would garner 58 percent of the vote to Marshall's 34 percent. Only 2 percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Two months ago, Burr held a 46 to 36 percent lead in a similar poll.

In the latest poll, which comes one month before one-stop early voting begins, Burr has erased the gender gap by beating Marshall among both male and female voters. Marshall had previously held a slight edge among women, but Burr now leads that group by 51 to 42 percent.

Burr also holds substantial leads among all age groups and income and education levels among voters, as well as in the Charlotte, Greensboro and eastern North Carolina areas. The Triangle remains a dead heat between the candidates.

He has a favorable image among 36 percent of the 862 registered voters polled, while 26 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him and 30 percent were neutral. Twenty-seven percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Marshall, with another 25 percent unfavorable and 36 percent neutral.

Peace College political science professor David McLennan Prof: Burr benefits from voting record, ads

Burr has been able to deflect the sour mood of voters toward Congress. Seventy-four percent of those polled said they disapprove of the job their representatives and senators are doing on Capitol Hill. Fifteen percent said they approve of the job Congress is doing.

David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College in Raleigh, said Burr has benefited from a conservative voting record that prevented a Tea Party challenger from running against him.

"He's been able to avoid what other Republican senators around the country have had to deal with, which is an attack from the right as well as an attack from the left," McLennan said.

Unlike Burr, Marshall hasn't run any television ads so far in the campaign, which McLennan said makes it difficult for her to get her message out across the state.

"The three debates are going to be critical for her to kind of knock down Burr and make some headway with voters," he said.

A majority of those polled – 52 percent – gave President Barack Obama an unfavorable rating, compared with 35 percent who said they view him favorably. Gov. Beverly Perdue had a slightly lower unfavorable rating at 49 percent, but only 21 percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of her.

The economy is by far the most pressing issue in the minds of voters, according to the poll. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said it's the most important issue facing the U.S., and immigration and health care tied for a distant second place at 6 percent each.

Sixty-three percent of those polled said they believe the country is on the wrong track, compared with 28 percent who said the U.S. is headed in the right direction. Blacks were the most optimistic group, according to the poll, with 61 percent saying the country is doing fine. Meanwhile, 94 percent of respondents who said they support the Tea Party movement said the nation is off track.

On the state level, 28 percent of those polled said the North Carolina economy would be stronger a year from now, and 30 percent said it would be weaker. Thirty-six percent said the state economy would remain about the same as it is now.


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  • Juncyard Sep 15, 2010

    He supports a corporation's efforts to deny a rape victim justice.......

    That's more than enough for me to vote none of the above at the least...

  • destewart2 Sep 15, 2010

    the only real special interest running washington and all around the country is the UNIONS which is in the pocket of the democrats.

  • dave L Sep 15, 2010

    Burr deserves reelections...the democrats have controlled both houses of congress almost the entire time he has been in the senate. We cant send another democrat up there to represent this great state

  • North Carolina Home Sep 15, 2010

    froggytroat, what it tells me is that the Congressional Districts are gerrymandered to keep the party in power (democrats in NC) safe whether it's possible for them to truly represent their districts or not. The NC Congressional District lines are a joke to the rest of the country.

  • froggytroat Sep 15, 2010

    >>Almost 75% of voters nationally disapprove of the job Congress is doing yet almost 95% of these Congressmen/women win again every two years.

    What do the results tell you about polling accuracy, then?

  • jgilchr Sep 15, 2010

    Vote Burr: Looking out for himself and the special interests.

  • TimeWillTell Sep 15, 2010

    I wish I could find ANY candidate I could actually vote FOR. I have not voted FOR a candidate in several election cycles - only AGAINST the lesser of two evils.

    So, with that said - how many NC Democratic politicians are in prison, or have been? How many scandals have we seen, many of which are still impacting us? I have to assume that any candidate the NC Democratic Party produces is as corrupt and/or incompetent as the current and past crop.

    So, personally, I do not see a clear choice betwen Burr and Marshall - each is a mouthpiece for their respective rotten parties. I'm a lifelong Republican, but that party has moved at least as far away from my core values as the Democrats have.

    "Clowns to the left of me / Jokers to the right..." - Stealers Wheel

  • ratherbnnc Sep 15, 2010

    A poll of 582 voters statewide is going to send Burr over the top in November? Man, they sure are grasping at that straw arent they? LOL

  • ncwebguy Sep 15, 2010

    In 2004, Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House, but it is the Democrats' fault?

    That is pure Republican "personal responsibility" for you.

    Maybe Burr needs a TV ad for that. I'm sure he has a few million dollars from corporate intersts to help spread that manure.

  • North Carolina Home Sep 15, 2010

    Almost 75% of voters nationally disapprove of the job Congress is doing yet almost 95% of these Congressmen/women win again every two years.

    It is time that voters demand that Congressional Districts make sense geographically and that the Representative actually has to live in the District in which they are elected. Neither of those two factors exist currently.