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WRAL News poll: Trump could see NC trouble in presidential race

Posted February 19, 2020 3:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 19, 2020 7:47 p.m. EST

— If President Donald Trump wants to carry North Carolina in November in his re-election bid, he needs to hold his own among the state’s moderate voters, according to a new WRAL News poll.

Democrats Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden would all defeat Trump in North Carolina in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup held now – nine months out from the actual election – because they beat him by a 2-1 margin among moderates, the exclusive poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows.

Democrats Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have smaller leads among moderates, according to the poll, leading to Trump defeating Warren and Klobuchar in North Carolina and running even with Buttigieg if the general election were held now.

SurveyUSA polled 2,366 registered voters statewide last Thursday through Sunday in the scientific poll, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Bloomberg holds the largest lead over Trump, at 49 to 43 percent. He also holds the largest lead among moderates polled among any potential Democratic nominee, at 60 to 29 percent.

Sanders has a five-point lead over Trump, at 50 to 45 percent, and his lead among moderates was 60 to 31 percent. Similarly, Biden leads among moderates polled 61 to 31 percent, contributing to an overall 49 to 45 percent margin over the president.

Meanwhile, Buttigieg had only an 18-point lead among moderate voters, at 53 to 35 percent, and would finish in a tight race with Trump, who holds a 46 to 45 percent edge if the election were now.

Warren and Klobuchar held even smaller margins among moderates at 15 and 17 points, respectively. The poll shows Trump defeating Warren head-to-head in North Carolina 48 to 44 percent, and Klobuchar by 46 to 42 percent.

Younger voters and the gender gap also could prove to be key to winning North Carolina in November, according to the poll.

Sanders, Bloomberg and Biden all have double-digit leads over Trump among voters ages 18 to 34, while Trump is within 7 points of Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar among those voters.

Bloomberg, Sanders and Biden also have double-digit leads among female voters and trail Trump by no more than 4 points among male voters, according to the poll. But the president leads the other three Democrats by 12 to 16 points among male voters while trailing by only 6 to 9 points among female voters.

A nationwide poll conducted by SurveyUSA at roughly the same time as the WRAL News poll shows Trump has closed the gap from earlier polls that showed Sanders and Biden beating him in hypothetical head-to-head matchups, although each of the Democrats would still win the national popular vote if the election were held now.

Bloomberg and Buttigieg maintain their leads over Trump in earlier nationwide polls, while Trump would be in close elections with Warren and Klobuchar, SurveyUSA reports.

The WRAL News poll also questioned North Carolina voters about any impact of the impeachment effort against the president on this year's elections.

Forty-one percent of respondents said impeachment would make them more likely to vote Democratic, while 36 percent said they are now more likely to vote Republican. About one in five voters said the impeachment process would have no effect on their votes.

People leaning to the left were more firm in their stance, with 80 percent of people identifying themselves as "very liberal" saying they would vote a straight Democratic ticket, compared with 65 percent of "very conservative" voters casting a ballot only for Republicans.

"The more that people understand the process that they went through and how inappropriate it was and how it threatened to have impeachment weaponized and become really more than a vote of no confidence, I think that by the time November comes, it's probably going to be something that [U.S. House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi wishes she never actually allowed to go forward," Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said.

WRAL anchor/reporter David Crabtree contributed to this report.

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