RALEIGH, N.C. — As President George W. Bush campaigns and prepares for the first debate, he does so with growing numbers in a state he easily won four years ago.
poll shows Bush has expanded his lead with likely North Carolina voters to 9 percentage points over John Kerry, which is triple the lead from July.
The margin is wider than that found in a Voters' Voice Poll released by WRAL earlier this week.
The John Edwards factor that created a buzz in North Carolina in July appears to be fading a bit. The number of people with a favorable view of the vice presidential candidate has slipped. It is now at 44 percent, down from 47 percent after Edwards joined the ticket this summer.
Edwards Name Recognition
According to the research, North Carolina voters believe George Bush can better handle all the major issues of the campaign than John Kerry: the economy, Iraq, terrorism, family values and health care.
The Bush-Cheney ticket is strong statewide carrying every region except the Triangle, Edwards' home, where the Kerry-Edwards campaign hold a 13-point edge.
If the 2004 presidential election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards, the Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, or the Libertarian ticket of Michael Badnarik and Richard Campagna?
The president has always been stronger than the Democrats with men. That trend continues, with the president enjoying a commanding 18-point lead. With women who traditionally favor the Democrats, the numbers show a dead heat at 47 percent.
New poll numbers for the U.S. Senate race will be released Thursday. WRAL will have the latest poll results in the governor's race on Friday.