Elon Poll: In N.C., GOP holds edge in presidential race

More than half of North Carolina residents have a favorable view of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, whose marks are much higher than those of Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

<enetimage imgid=”12582″>And more North Carolina residents (41 percent) plan to support the Republican Party in the November presidential election than the Democratic Party (35 percent). Twenty percent of respondents remain undecided.

Two thirds of respondents (67 percent) said vice presidential running mates have at least some influence in their evaluation of the candidates. Favorability ratings in the presidential race:

Sen. John McCain: 54 percent favorable
Gov. Sarah Palin: 49 percent favorable

Sen. Barack Obama: 37 percent favorable
Sen. Joe Biden: 41 percent favorable


Poll respondents indicated a different level of support for the candidates in the state’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who is running for a second term, and state Sen. Kay Hagan. Forty-eight percent of respondents indicated dissatisfaction with Dole, a jump of 22 percentage points from the previous Elon Poll in April.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said it is time for a new person to have a chance to represent North Carolina in the Senate. The race for the seat appears to be a dead heat, with each of the parties receiving support from 35 percent of respondents.

The poll, conducted Sept. 15-18, 2008, by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 411 North Carolina residents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.  The sample is of the population in general and does not restrict respondents by their voter eligibility or likelihood of voting in an election.  The sample was comprised of both landlines and cellular phones.


The gubernatorial contest remains tight, with 37 percent of respondents supporting the Republican Party and 35 percent pledging their votes to the Democratic Party.
Public opinion for gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, the Democratic nominee, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee, was consistent between the opponents.  While 34 percent of respondents disapproved of each candidate, each of them also received a 37 percent approval rating.

“At this time, it appears that the three major races in North Carolina are going to come down to the wire,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.  “While the public has not made a final determination among the candidates, nearly everyone can agree that the economy is the major issue in these upcoming contests.”

Eighty-one percent of respondents believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The most cited issues that will affect votes included the following:

Economy: 92 percent
Health care: 86 percent
Iraq war: 84 percent
Taxes: 83 percent

The top issues facing North Carolina were identified to be:

Economy: 47 percent
Energy & Gas Prices: 11 percent
Elementary & Secondary Education: 10 percent