Raleigh, N.C. — Democrat Elaine Marshall has narrowed the gap with U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, but she still trails by a wide margin a week before the election, according to a WRAL News Poll released Tuesday.
SurveyUSA polled 1,000 North Carolina residents Friday through Monday; 857 were registered voters and 590 said they were likely to vote.
If the election were held now, Burr would garner 53 percent of the ballots cast by likely voters to Marshall's 38 percent. Libertarian Mike Beitler would finish with 5 percent of the vote, according to the poll.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
In mid-September, Burr held a 58 to 34 percent lead in a similar poll.
In the latest poll, Burr continues to hold substantial leads among all age groups and income and education levels among voters. The Triangle remains a dead heat between the candidates, while all other metro areas statewide lean heavily toward Burr.
Burr also leads among people who have already voted by 50 to 40 percent, according to the poll.
Forty percent of the 857 registered voters polled said they have a favorable image of Burr, while 30 percent have an unfavorable image and the remainder are neutral. Thirty percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Marshall, with another 28 percent unfavorable and 28 percent neutral.
The candidates' approval ratings are far ahead of those given to Congress. Seventy-seven percent of those polled said they disapprove of the job being done on Capitol Hill, while only 15 percent said they approve.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was given an unfavorable rating by 54 percent of respondents, with 34 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of him and 10 percent were neutral.
Fifty-one percent of respondents view Gov. Beverly Perdue unfavorably, with 21 percent favorable and 23 percent neutral.
The economy continues to be 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 health care was a distant second at 8 percent. No other issue got more than 4 percent response.
Two-thirds of those polled said they believe the country is on the wrong track, compared with 26 percent who said the U.S. is headed in the right direction. On the state level, 26 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-eight percent said the state economy would remain about the same as it is now.