Budd holds slight lead in North Carolina U.S. Senate race with six weeks left

The Civitas Poll showed President Biden’s approval rating at 39.3%.

Updated: October 3, 2022 - 8:13am

A new Civitas Poll shows the U.S. Senate race between Rep. Ted Budd and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley remains close with six weeks to go before Election Day.

"This race to replace Senator Richard Burr continues to be a nail-biter as we hit the 40-day mark until November 8," said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. "The general election outcomes are likely to be determined by the ten to fifteen percent of North Carolinians who remain undecided. With less than three weeks until the polls open for early voting, we can expect to see a further ramp-up of the political ad dollars being spent in our state."

Forty-four percent of the 650 likely general election voters surveyed September 24-26 told pollsters they would vote for Democrat Beasley and 43.7% for Republican Budd if the election "was held today."

Another 10.3% said they remained undecided, while 1.3% would vote for Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray and 0.6% would vote for Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh. Those figures are similar to Civitas Poll results from last month, when both Budd and Beasley garnered 42.3% support, with 12.6% undecided.

The most recent Civitas Poll also gauged generic ballots for the state Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives, which showed tight races, as well.

The generic Republican candidate is leading the generic Democratic candidate in the state legislative races by only 2.1%, 46.6% to 44.5%. Republicans are also leading in the generic U.S. House races 47.5% to 44.2%. The 3.3 % Republican lead is down from August, when the gap was 5%.

"For Republicans to hold a lead, even a small one, on the generic ballots is bound to make Democratic strategists uneasy, but Congressman Budd is still polling behind the generic Republican," Bryson said.

Republican candidates for the North Carolina Supreme Court posted larger leads in the Civitas Poll, with Richard Dietz at 44.5% over Democrat Lucy Inman at 40.5%. Republican Trey Allen, meanwhile, led Democrat Sam J. Ervin 46% to 38.9%, though 15% of those polled remained undecided in both races.

Other results showed 85% of those polled believe the U.S. is heading to a recession or are already in a recession. About half told pollsters they are finding it difficult to afford gas, housing and food, with percentages at 56.5%, 48.5%, and 52.9%, respectively.

Eastern North Carolinians are most likely to struggle to afford groceries with 61% finding it difficult, while Triangle residents were the least likely at 46%.

"Inflation is eating into the pocketbooks of families across the state, and the effects of the spending bills constantly coming down from D.C. have certainly not dodged the Tar Heel State," Bryson said. "High prices will not disappear as an election issue in the next few weeks, or maybe even year."

The Civitas Poll showed President Biden’s approval rating at 39.3%, up slightly from 32.9% in June, while Gov. Roy Cooper’s approval rating was steady at 45%.

The poll also showed 62.6% of North Carolinians agree that voters should have to present photo identification before submitting their ballot. Of those who support voter ID, 75% told pollsters they believe the state Legislature, not U.S. Congress, should determine election law in North Carolina.