Poll: Ted Budd leads Cheri Beasley among those who will ‘definitely’ vote

Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley are locked in a tie at 44% support each in the race for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, according to the latest Marist Poll.

But Budd leads 49% to 45% among those who say they will definitely vote, meaning Beasley’s campaign must ensure they turn out voters.

Beasley leads among those who have already voted at 56% to 34%.

Among partisans, the two candidates are near even, with 88% of Democrats saying they will vote for Beasley and 89% of Republicans saying they will vote for Budd. Both candidates have crossover party appeal at 5% of respondents. 

Beasley has a slight edge, though statistically insignificant, among independent voters at 40% to 39%.

Beasley leads among higher-income North Carolina voters, those making less than $50,000 a year in household income, at 44% to 40%, but trails among those earning more than $50,000 at 44% to 47%.

The Democrat is struggling among non-college graduates at 38% to 47%.

That’s a big deal in North Carolina where more than 1.2 million voters are estimated to have a likely or extremely likely maximum educational attainment of a high school diploma, according to the most recent L2 voter data. Still, more than 1.6 million North Carolina voters are likely or extremely likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the data.

Beasley has a commanding lead among Black voters in the poll, at 71% to 17%, but trails among White voters at 37% to 53%.

Women, likely influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer overturning Roe v. Wade, favor Beasley at 51% to 36%. But Budd leads among men 53% to 37%.

Both candidates have the same favorability among North Carolina voters at 41% favorable to 39% unfavorable, but Budd has a slight edge among voters who say they will definitely vote, at 45% favorable to 41% favorable, a +4 favorability.

Among those who say they will definitely vote, 44% view Beasley favorable while 43% view her unfavorable, a net favorability of just +1.

The poll results among all North Carolina voters are a slight improvement for Beasley, who trailed Budd in a previous poll from the Trafalgar Group by 4 percentage points. But her position remains unchanged when considering voters who say they will definitely vote.

Democrats hold a slight edge in voter registration in the state, with 2.3 million registered Democrats to just over 2 million GOP voters, according to L2 voter data. But non-partisan voters outnumber both political parties in the state, with nearly 2.4 million no party-affiliated registered voters.

The Marist Poll among 1,247 North Carolina adults was taken Oct. 17-20, before Beasley earned an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.

Budd has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Beasley and Budd are running for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr, who is retiring. It represents an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a seat in the now-split Senate as Republicans fight to keep the seat red.

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