In the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr, the latest Emerson College Polling/CBS17/The Hill survey of North Carolina voters finds Republican candidate Ted Budd with 46% support and Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley with 43%. Nine percent are undecided. Since the last Emerson poll of North Carolina voters back in May, Budd’s support decreased by two points, 48% to 46%, while Beasley’s support has increased two points, 41% to 43%.

When asked which candidate voters expect to win in November, a majority of voters (56%) expect Budd to be elected, while 44% expect Beasley to win.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Budd leads among men by 16 points while Beasley leads among women by nine points. Notably, 81% of the undecided voters are women whose most important voting issue is abortion access (28%).”

Forty-eight percent of North Carolina voters have a favorable view of Budd, while 46% have a favorable view of Beasley. Thirty-eight percent have an unfavorable view of Budd, compared to 40% have an unfavorable view of Beasley. 

A majority of voters (52%) disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president; 42% approve. In a hypothetical matchup between President Biden and former President Trump, 47% would support Trump and 42% Biden. Forty-three percent of voters say the recent FBI search of Mar-a-Lago makes them more likely to support Trump if he runs for election in 2024, 29% say it makes them less likely to support Trump, and 28% say it makes no difference on their vote. 

“A majority of North Carolina’s white (54%), rural (56%) and senior (51%) populations say that the FBI’s recent search of Mar-a-lago makes them more likely to support Donald Trump,” Kimball noted. 

The economy is the most important issue in determining 41% of voters’ November decision, followed by threats to democracy (14%), abortion (12%), and healthcare (11%). 

Kimball noted, “Sixty-nine percent of voters who say the economy is their most important issue plan to vote for Budd. Seventy-seven percent of those who say abortion is their top issue support Beasley. Those who find threats to democracy to be the most important issue are more split: 53% support Beasley and 42% support Budd.”

A majority of voters (59%) say they are much more likely (46%) or somewhat more likely (12%) to vote in the 2022 elections due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Thirty-five percent say it makes no difference, and 17% say they are somewhat less likely (2%) or much less likely (5%). A plurality of voters (39%) think the North Carolina legislature should make it easier to access abortion, while 32% think the legislature should make it harder to acces abortion, and 29% say they should not pass abortion laws.

“Of the 46% of voters who say they are much more likely to vote because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, 60% support Beasley and 29% Budd. However, voters who say the overturning of Roe makes no difference on their vote break for Budd over Beasley 51% to 25%,” Kimball said.

Fifty-seven percent of voters support expansion of Medicaid coverage for up to 600,000 low income people in North Carolina, 18% oppose Medicaid expansion, and 26% are neutral or have no opinion. 

Voters are split on the federal government’s decision to forgive $10,000 of student loan debt for borrowers making under $125,000 per year: 32% think it is too much action, 26% think it is just about the right amount of action, 20% think it is not enough action, and 23% think no student loan debt should be forgiven. 

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The Emerson College Polling North Carolina poll was conducted September 15-16, 2022. The sample consisted of somewhat and very likely voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, region, party registration, and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, and an online panel.