Here’s the latest news today out of North Carolina courtesy of Monmouth University’s latest poll:
The Monmouth University Poll finds North Carolina’s U.S. Senate election has shifted in the Democrat’s favor since last month. Among registered voters, challenger Cal Cunningham has 48% support and first-term Republican incumbent Thom Tillis has 44% support. Other voter support goes to Libertarian Shannon Bray (3%) and Kevin Hayes of the Constitution Party (<1%), with 3% undecided. The race was virtually tied in September’s poll at 46% for Cunningham and 45% for Tillis.
Among likely voters in a high turnout scenario, Cunningham leads Tillis by 49% to 44% (versus a 47% to 45% lead in September). Using a lower turnout model, the race is a tight 48% for Cunningham and 47% for Tillis (compared with a tied race at 46% each in September). Tillis won the seat in 2014 by just under two percentage points against then-incumbent Kay Hagan.
Both major party candidates in the senate race unintendedly made headlines in the past two weeks – the challenger for extramarital romantic texts and the incumbent for acquiring Covid-19 after attending the White House super-spreader event. Voter opinion of Cunningham has flipped from positive to negative over the past month. He currently earns a 25% favorable and 33% unfavorable rating, with 43% having no opinion. His September numbers were 34% favorable, 22% unfavorable, and 44% no opinion.
At the same time, very few voters (14%) feel that the sexting revelation disqualifies Cunningham from holding office. Another 32% say this behavior calls his character into question but is not a disqualifier, while just over half (51%) say this should only be an issue for him and his family. One way to look at how this problem may impact Cunningham is to isolate voters who have the greatest potential for ticket splitting. Among this group – defined as voters who are not firmly committed to voting for either both Republicans or both Democrats in the president and governor races – 54% say Cunningham’s behavior is not their business, while 28% say it does raise some questions about the candidate’s character but does not disqualify him. Only 15% actually consider it a disqualifying factor for holding office.
“North Carolinians may frown on Cunningham’s behavior but few think it has any bearing on his fitness for office. In fact, at a time when swing voters have had their fill of hyperpartisanship, it’s possible that this story coming out now could actually hurt Tillis a bit,” said Murray.
North Carolina voters give Tillis a 30% favorable and 34% unfavorable rating, with 37% offering no opinion of him. The incumbent held a 35% favorable and 35% unfavorable rating in September, with 31% having no opinion. Half (50%) of the electorate feels Tillis did not take the pandemic seriously enough before he came down with Covid himself, while just 37% believe he did take it seriously.
An interesting side note in the poll findings is that more North Carolina voters know about Cunningham’s sexting activity (80%) than know about Tillis’s diagnosis (69%). There is no partisan difference in awareness of Cunningham’s news, but Republicans (61%) are less likely than Democrats (74%) and independents (71%) to have heard about Tillis’s condition.
And in the presidential election:
Governor Roy Cooper (D. NC) is also beating Lt. Governor Dan Forest (R. NC) 51-44. By the way, in the race to succeed Forest as Lt. Governor, this popped up:
The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor is standing behind Facebook posts in which he makes derogatory comments about transgender people, Muslims, a Jewish filmmaker, former President Barack Obama and fellow Black Americans who support Democrats.
Mark Robinson, a gun rights activist from Greensboro, surprised the Republican establishment when he easily defeated state legislators and other well-known candidates in the March primary. Now he’s facing state Rep. Yvonne Holley, a longtime Democratic legislator from Raleigh, in the race for a largely ceremonial role.
Robinson and his campaign did not respond to multiple calls and emails seeking an interview for this story. But he told WRAL News last month that he won’t apologize for any of the comments posted to Facebook over the past several years. “I’m not ashamed of anything that I post,” he told the TV station.
Let’s keep up the momentum to flip North Carolina Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Cunningham, Cooper, Biden and their fellow North Carolina Democrats campaigns: