New poll gives Democratic Party an edge over Republicans
By Lindsay Marchello
Carolina Journal News Service
Saturday, June 8, 2019
RALEIGH — If a new poll from Emerson Polling is accurate, the Democratic Party has an edge over Republicans in upcoming elections.
While FiveThirtyEight, a poll analysis website, gave Emerson a B+ in 2018, some have questioned the reliability of the polling group. Nate Cohn, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted that Emerson Polling shouldn’t be cited because of the sampling it uses.
The June 4 poll, which surveyed North Carolina likely voters on their political opinions, contacted 932 residents between May 31 and June 3. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.
More than 50 percent of respondents disapprove of President Trump’s job performance; 41 percent approve of the job he’s doing. About 7 percent are neutral or have no opinion.
Trump dominates in the Republican primary, with 88 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him; 12 percent said they would vote for Bill Weld. For the Democratic primary, former Vice President Joe Biden leads, with 39 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him. The rest of the top five sees Bernie Sanders at 22 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 15 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 8 percent and Kamala Harris at 5 percent.
Spencer Kimball, Emerson Polling director and professor at Emerson College, said Biden has an edge over Sanders.
“A Biden voter is more likely to be a registered Democrat as compared to the Sanders voter who is more likely to be Independent,” Kimball said in a news release. “If this trend holds, those states that have closed primary/caucuses will present a distinct advantage for Biden, as Independents won’t be able to vote in those contests.”
When facing the top five Democratic candidates, Trump barely beats only Harris — 51 percent to 49 percent — and essentially ties Warren at 50 percent. Biden beats Trump, 56 percent to 44 percent, while Sanders beats Trump, 54 percent to 46 percent. Buttigieg also surpasses Trump — 52 percent saying they would vote for Buttigieg; 48 percent said they would pick Trump.
Emerson Polling also looked at the U.S. Senate race and governor’s race in North Carolina.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is polling ahead of his likely Republican challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. A little more than 50 percent of respondents said they would vote for Cooper in the upcoming election, compared to 38 percent who would cast a ballot for Forest. Ten percent are unsure.
The upcoming U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has Democratic challenger Erica D. Smith ahead of Republican incumbent Thom Tillis. Tillis is polling at 39 percent, and Smith is polling at 46 percent. Fifteen percent are unsure. Tillis is also facing a primary challenger, Garland Tucker III, but respondents weren’t polled about him.
A plurality of respondents said they viewed the economy as the most important issue when considering whom to vote for in the 2020 presidential election. The economy topped the list at 32 percent, followed by health care at 18 percent, social issues at 14 percent, and immigration at 13 percent.
For Democratic primary voters only, health care — 27 percent — and social issues — 23 percent — topped the list. Republican primary voters overwhelmingly said the economy was the most important issue to consider.
“This data suggests that if the election comes down to issues, the Democratic presidential candidate might have a more difficult time crafting a general election message, as both Republicans and Independents rank the economy as the most important issue, while Democratic voters rank it third behind health-care and social issues,” Kimball said.
Carolina Journal stories are provided by the John Locke Foundation of Raleigh.