North Carolina state flag. (Photo by: Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

In North Carolina, Democrat challenger Cal Cunningham leads incumbent Republican Thom Tillis in the race for Senate.  The latest PolitialIQ poll shows Cunningham in front of Tillis by seven points among Likely North Carolina Voters, 49% to 42%.   The poll, conducted by Scott Rasmussen, shows 4% voting for someone else and 5% not sure.  The margin of error is 3.5%

It’s always a challenge to predict voter turnout, especially in the case of an ongoing pandemic. As a result, all polls are released with three separate turnout models—a baseline projection, a Strong Republican Turnout model, and a Strong Democratic Turnout model. This approach takes into account how modest differences in turnout can have a significant impact on results.

In the case of North Carolina, even in a Strong Republican Turnout model, Cunningham maintains a five-point lead, 48% to 43%.  Alternatively, if the Democratic Turnout is stronger than baseline, Cunningham expands his lead to a comfortable 51% to 40%.

This race has been the subject of national interest since early October when Tillis announced he tested positive for the coronavirus.  Around the same time, Cunningham confirmed reports that he had sent sexually oriented texts to a woman other than his wife. 

Also in North Carolina, Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Trump by a single digit.  And in the race Governor, Incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper is out in front of his Republican Challenger Dan Forest by 53% to 41%. will be releasing Wave 2 poll results from Battleground States up thru Election Day, including the key state of Pennsylvania later today. In 2016, Tillis beat incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan by less than 2%.


The survey of 800 Likely North Carolina Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from October 24-26, 2020. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were randomly selected from a list of Registered Voters and contacted via text or through a process of Random Digital Engagement. A total of 49 were contacted using automated phone polling techniques. The Likely Voter sample was derived from a larger sample of Registered Voters using screening questions and other factors. Certain quotas were applied to the larger sample and lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the state’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

Thirty-five percent (35%) of the Likely Voters either identify as Republican or Lean Republican. Thirty-six percent (36%) either identify as a Democrat or Lean Democrat. Twenty-nine percent (29%) do not identify with either major party.

The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

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