WRAL Poll shows leads for Trump, Burr and Cooper; Election Day turnout will be key
Posted November 2, 2016
The latest WRAL poll -- with Republican Donald Trump leading Democrat Hillary Clinton by 7 points; Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr up by 6 points over Democrat Deborah Ross and Democrat Roy Cooper with a 1 point lead over Republican incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory -- offers more than just who is ahead a week out from Election Day.
The survey also asked North the likely voters if they'd already cast ballots. After all, the interviews were conducted Oct. 28 through Oct. 31 -- in the midst of early voting in North Carolina.
Fifty-two percent of those backing Clinton had already voted, compared 46 percent of those supporting Trump. The shares were similar for the Senate and governors races.
What that practically means is that Republicans will need to see a big wave of GOP votes turning out on election day -- the kind of boost that Republican Thom Tillis got in 2014 to narrowly defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan. On average, Tillis' margin of victory was a mere 17 votes per precinct.
There's a significant difference in voter turnout in presidential versus non-presidential election years in North Carolina -- with Republicans tending to make up a greater share of the electorate in non-presidential years.
It's certainly not a surprise to say turnout -- particularly on Election Day -- will be critical for both parties.
The Republican face the task of getting more of their folks to flood the polls on election day. For Democrats, its a matter of not stalling on the momentum built up during early voting. Democrats are flooding the state with the candidates, big-time surrogates -- including the two biggest President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama -- as well as celebrities.
The Republicans have the top of the ticket -- Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, coming to the state this week.
By some estimates in early voting, African-American turnout has been as much as 16 percent behind 2012. Gov. McCrory acknowledged that to be a good sign for Republicans during an interview on the "Laura Ingraham" interview show.
"We're not seeing the turnout as anticipated from 2008 or 2012. And we hope that, you know, that bodes well for us," McCrory said. "And we hope that the Trump ticket increases the turnout of new voters for the Republican ticket."