North Carolina Presidential, Senate, and Governor Races, July 2020

NBC News/Marist Poll

Biden Leads Trump by Seven Points in North Carolina

Joe Biden (51%) surpasses the mid-point and leads President Donald Trump (44%) in North Carolina among registered voters. In early March, Biden (49%) edged Trump (45%) by four points among registered voters in a, then, hypothetical matchup. In 2016, Trump carried the state by nearly four points.

NC Presidential Tossup
If November's election for president were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are: [If undecided: If you had to decide today, are you leaning more towards:]
Source: NBC News/Marist Poll. Survey conducted July 14-22, 2020. Margin of error for 882 registered voters is +/- 4.0%.
  • Partisan allegiances are in place. Biden (49%) is +8 points over Trump (41%) among Independents.

  • Biden has the advantage among Black voters, white voters with a college degree – especially white women with a college degree – women overall, voters under 45, and urban and suburban voters.

  • Trump is bolstered by white evangelical Christians, white voters – especially those without a college degree – men, and rural and small-town voters.

  • Biden (52%) carries voters who have an unfavorable opinion of both Biden and Trump.

  • 12% of voters are persuadable, that is, voters who are undecided or who support a candidate but might vote differently.

69% of voters with a candidate preference strongly support their choice of candidate, including 64% of Biden’s backers and 75% of Trump’s supporters.

“Biden is in good shape in North Carolina as long as the coronavirus or race relations is top of mind,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “His downside is if focus shifts to the economy where Trump has the advantage.”

Trump’s job approval rating stands at 40% among North Carolina residents. 54% disapprove. In March, 44% approved. 47% disapproved. 58% of independents now disapprove of Trump’s job performance, up from 48%.

40% of residents strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance. 27% strongly approve. Notably, 83% of Biden’s supporters strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance.

Neither Trump nor Biden is viewed favorably among North Carolina residents. Though, Biden’s favorable rating (43% to 48% unfavorable) is slightly better than that of Trump (39% to 55% favorable). When the two candidates are compared on the issues, North Carolinians consider Trump the better candidate to deal with the economy. Biden is perceived better on handling race relations and coronavirus.

Who do you think would be better when it comes to dealing with:

Source: NBC News/Marist Poll. Survey conducted July 14-22, 2020. Margin of error for 1067 adults is +/- 3.7%.


Other Findings 

GOP Convention

When looking at the decision of Trump and the GOP to move their convention out of Charlotte because of strict coronavirus protocols, 61% of North Carolinians say the state was right to prioritize its health protocols over the president’s objections. 32% say the president was right to move the convention because it’s his prerogative where and to whom he speaks.


Driven mainly by Biden supporters, a plurality of North Carolinians (48%) think the coronavirus pandemic in their state is getting worse as opposed to getting better (13%). 36% don’t think there has been any change.

U.S. Senate Race

In the race for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, Democrat Cal Cunningham (50%) has a 9-point lead over Republican Thom Tillis (41%) among registered voters statewide, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. In March, Cunningham had a 5-point edge. 50% of voters with a Senate candidate preference say they strongly support their choice of candidate. 54% of Cunningham’s supporters, compared with 45% Tillis’ backers, are firmly committed to their candidate.

NC Governor Race

Incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper (58%) has a wide lead against Republican Dan Forest (38%) in the state’s gubernatorial contest among registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. 64% of those with a candidate preference for governor strongly support their choice of candidate.

Governor Cooper’s Approval Rating

58% of North Carolina residents, including 29% of Republicans, approve of Governor Roy Cooper’s job performance. 34% disapprove.