The Battleground 2024: North Carolina

Marist North Carolina Poll

Three Points Separate Trump and Biden in Presidential Re-Match in North Carolina…Stein and Robinson Competitive in North Carolina Governor’s Race

In North Carolina, former President Donald Trump edges President Joe Biden by three percentage points among, both, the statewide electorate and those who say they definitely plan to vote in November. Although he is yet to qualify to be on the November ballot in the state, when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is factored in as a third-party candidate, he pulls double-digit support but has little impact on the margin between Trump and Biden. In North Carolina’s governor’s race, only two percentage points separate Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Mark Robinson.

2024 Presidential Contest in NC
If November's general 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: Marist Poll North Carolina Registered Voters. Interviews conducted March 11th through March 14th, 2024, n=1,197 MOE +/- 3.6 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • Among both North Carolina registered voters and those who say they definitely plan to vote in November’s election, Trump receives 51% to 48% for Biden.

  • Looking at registered voters, among independents, Trump (52%) has a 6-percentage point advantage over Biden (46%).

  • Biden has gained support among white voters in North Carolina but has lost ground among Blacks. 41% of whites currently support Biden compared with 33% in the statewide Exit Poll of the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s support among Blacks stands at 79%, down from 92% in the last presidential contest.

  • Trump has gained support among North Carolina voters between the ages of 18 and 29 (49%, up from 40% in the 2020 election) and those 30 to 44 (51% from 43%).

  • In a three-way contest, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Trump receives 46% of the North Carolina electorate to 43% for Biden. 11% support Kennedy.

“North Carolina has been a battleground state for several presidential election cycles and remains so in 2024,” says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Both Biden and Trump have secured their base. The tale of the tape will be who commands independent voters and voters who dislike both presidential candidates.”

Biden Approval Rating Upside Down in North Carolina

A majority of North Carolina residents (53%) disapprove of the job President Biden is doing in office. 41% approve. Biden’s approval rating in the state, though, has inched up from 37% in October of 2022. At that time, 56% disapproved of the job he was doing in office. North Carolina adults are nearly twice as likely to strongly disapprove (42%) of Biden’s job performance than to strongly approve (22%).

Biden, Trump Suffer from Upside Down Favorable Ratings… Kennedy Largely Unknown

54% of North Carolina residents have an unfavorable opinion of Biden. 41% have a favorable impression of the president. Trump fares little better. 50% have an unfavorable opinion of Trump while 46% have a favorable opinion of him. Kennedy is not well-known to nearly four in ten residents. While 33% have an unfavorable view of Kennedy and 29% have a positive impression of him, 38% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

Mental Acumen More of a Concern for Biden Than Trump

Nearly six in ten North Carolina adults (59%), including 26% of Democrats, think that the question of Joe Biden’s mental fitness is a real concern when it comes to his ability to be president. 39% say it is a campaign strategy used by his opponents. While 72% of Democrats perceive the issue to be more of a campaign strategy, 82% of Republicans and 66% of independents say it is a real concern.

North Carolina residents divide over Trump’s mental fitness. 48% believe it is a real concern about his ability to be president while the same proportion (48%) think it is a campaign strategy. Most Democrats (82%) say his mental ability is a real concern while 79% of Republicans say it is a campaign strategy. Independents divide, 47% think it is a real concern, and 49% say it is a campaign strategy.

State of the Union Address Did Little to Boost Confidence in North Carolina

Biden’s State of the Union Address helped bring his Democratic base home but did little to instill greater confidence in him among many North Carolina residents. 30% of those in North Carolina, including 62% of Democrats, are more confident in Biden. 30% are less confident, and 39% say the speech did little to change perceptions about the president.

The Trump Investigations

Nearly three in four North Carolina residents (73%) think that Trump has done something illegal (46%) or something unethical but not illegal (27%). One in four residents (25%) report Trump has done nothing wrong.

Opinions fall along party lines. 85% of Democrats say Trump has engaged in illegal activity while 51% of Republicans say he has done nothing wrong. A notable 39% of Republicans say Trump has done something unethical but not illegal. A plurality of independents (44%) think Trump has done something illegal.

More than six in ten North Carolina residents (61%) think Trump should not receive immunity from criminal prosecution for actions he took while president.

When it comes to the investigations into Trump’s behavior, a majority of residents statewide (54%) think the investigations into the former president are fair and intended to find out if he broke the law. 45%, though, say they are unfair investigations to get in the way of his 2024 presidential campaign.

Preserving Democracy and Inflation Top Voting Issues

26% of North Carolina residents say preserving democracy is top of mind when it comes to voting in this November’s elections. The same proportion (26%) cite inflation. Immigration follows with 21%. Abortion is the priority for 11% while 10% mention health care. Crime is the number-one voting issue for 6% of North Carolina residents.

A plurality of Democrats (43%) say preserving democracy is top of mind when thinking about November’s election. 40% of Republicans mention immigration. Among independents, 28% cite inflation, 27% mention preserving democracy, and 20% say immigration is their priority when voting in November.

Trump Tops Biden on Economy, Biden Perceived Better on Abortion Issue

When looking at key electoral issues, 54% of North Carolina adults say Trump would better handle the economy. A similar 55% think Trump bests Biden on the issue of immigration. However, Biden (51%) is perceived to be stronger on the issue of abortion. North Carolina residents divide about who would better handle preserving democracy. 50% mention Biden while 49% say Trump.

Republicans with Edge in Congressional Elections

Half of North Carolina registered voters (50%) say they are more likely to support the Republican congressional candidate in their district. 46% report they are more likely to back the Democrat. Among independent voters in North Carolina, 51% say they are more likely to support the Republican on the ballot compared with 42% for the Democrat.

Stein and Robinson Competitive in North Carolina’s Gubernatorial Contest

49% of North Carolina registered voters support Democrat Josh Stein in the race for North Carolina governor. 47% back Republican Mark Robinson, and 1% are for another party’s candidate. Three percent are undecided. Only two percentage points separate Stein (49%) and Robinson (47%) among independents.

Stein and Robinson Suffer from Low Name Recognition Statewide

36% of North Carolina residents have a favorable view of Stein. 22% have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 42% have either never heard of Stein or are unsure how to rate him. Robinson is slightly better known but does not fare better. 33% of North Carolinians have a positive impression of Robinson. 36% have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 31% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

Confidence Exists in Integrity of State and Local Elections

Three in four residents statewide (75%) are either very confident or confident in their state or local government to run a fair and accurate election in November. 24% are either not very confident or not confident at all in the process. Regardless of party identification, more than seven in ten adults express confidence in the election system in North Carolina.

A Majority Thinks U.S. Should Focus on Domestic Issues

Driven by Republicans (62%) and independents (51%), 53% of North Carolina residents think the U.S. should focus on its own problems and play less of a leadership role in the world. 45% of residents, though, think it is crucial for the U.S. to play a major leadership role in world events.