ELON POLL: The doctor is “in” in N.C.


Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson commands a double-digit lead over his nearest competitor in North Carolina’s Republican presidential primary race, according to the latest Elon University Poll, and he trumps former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup in next fall’s general election.

When Carson faces Clinton, he wins 48-44 percent, though his lead over Clinton has shrunk since September when Carson led by 11 points. His support remains strong among self-described Independents, who prefer the Republican candidate by a 57-32 percent margin.

However, Carson’s support among black respondents has been cut in half over the past six weeks, falling from 15 percent in September to just 7 percent in the latest poll.

And while Carson is leading over Clinton, the latest poll found that he’s not the only Republican who might defeat her in a hypothetical matchup. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also holds a 46-45 advantage over Clinton, despite his 10 percent support in the Republican primary.

The Elon University Poll’s live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 1,234 residents – of which 1,040 said they were registered to vote – was conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2015. The survey had a margin of error of 3.04 percentage points for registered voters; 4.54 percentage points among Republican and Republican-leaning voters; and 4.32 percentage points among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.

“It appears that a strong performance in the last GOP debate has pushed Ben Carson to the front of the crowded GOP pack of presidential candidates, at least among Republicans in North Carolina,” said Assistant Professor Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll. “Nearly a third of registered Republican voters here said they plan on voting for Carson, more than 10 points ahead of Donald Trump, his closest primary competitor.”

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCES

2016 Republican Presidential Primary

Ben Carson: 31 percent

Donald Trump: 19 percent

Marco Rubio: 10 percent

Ted Cruz: 10 percent

Jeb Bush: 5 percent

Carly Fiorina: 3 percent

Mike Huckabee: 3 percent

Rand Paul: 2 percent

Chris Christie: 2 percent

Other: 2 percent

John Kasich: 1 percent

Lindsey Graham: 1 percent

Bobby Jindal: 0 percent

George Pataki: 0 percent

Rick Santorum: 0 percent

Twelve percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters said they were undecided on which candidate they will support.

2016 Democratic Presidential Primary

Hillary Clinton: 57 percent

Bernie Sanders: 24 percent

Martin O’Malley: 3 percent

Other: 2 percent

Fourteen percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said they were undecided on which candidate they will support.

“The congressional committee hearings on Benghazi have not hurt Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, at least among Democratic voters,” said Assistant Professor Jason Husser, assistant director of the Elon University Poll. “Clinton has extended her large lead against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to 33 points.”

Head-to-Head Match-Ups

Q: If the 2016 presidential election was between Republican Ben Carson & Democrat Hilary Clinton who would you vote for?

Carson: 48 percent

Clinton: 44 percent

Neither/Someone Else: 4 percent

Don’t Know: 5 percent

Q: If the 2016 presidential election was between Republican Marco Rubio & Democrat Hilary Clinton who would you vote for?

Rubio: 46 percent

Clinton: 45 percent

Neither/Someone Else: 4 percent

Don’t Know: 5 percent

Q: If the 2016 presidential election was between Republican Donald Trump & Democrat Hilary Clinton who would you vote for?

Clinton: 50 percent

Trump: 40 percent

Neither/Someone Else: 8 percent

Don’t Know: 3 percent

NORTH CAROLINA’S GUBERNATORIAL RACE

Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has pulled ahead of incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in a match-up between the two North Carolina political leaders. Cooper leads McCrory 45-40 percent, the first time the Elon University Poll has found him to be winning a head-to-head matchup in the 2016 gubernatorial contest.

Cooper now does better with Independents (40-36%). This is a reversal from September when McCrory had support of 44 percent of Independents and Cooper had only 39 percent.

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