Politics & Government

A tight race is shaping up in an NC district that Democrats have a chance to flip

GOP congressional candidate Ted Budd owns a gun store in Advance.
GOP congressional candidate Ted Budd owns a gun store in Advance. bhenderson@charlotteobserver.com

Republican first-term Rep. Ted Budd leads Democratic challenger Kathy Manning by five points but with nearly one-fifth of voters undecided on their choice in November, according to a poll conducted this week in North Carolina’s 13th District.

The poll, conducted by the conservative, Raleigh-based Civitas Institute, showed Budd at 40 percent, Manning at 35 percent and with 19 percent undecided. Libertarian Party candidate Tom Bailey and Green Party candidate Robert Corriher each polled at 3 percent.

The 13th district in and near North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad includes parts or all of Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Iredell and Rowan counties. Budd, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, received more than 56 percent of the vote in 2016. President Donald Trump won the district by 9 points.

“I don’t think this poll is necessarily bad news for anybody. This is about where I would imagine we would be,” Civitas President Donald Bryson said.

The poll was conducted between July 12 and July 16 and surveyed 537 likely voters in the district.

Voters in the district have an unfavorable view of Trump with 44 percent approving of the job he is doing as president and 48 percent disapproving.

The poll found health care was the top issue for 21 percent of voters in the district, followed by jobs and the economy (19 percent), the presidency (16 percent) and immigration (14 percent).

In a recent Civitas poll, Democrat Dan McCready led Republican Mark Harris by seven points in North Carolina’s 9th district, which runs from Charlotte to Fayetteville in south central North Carolina.

The 9th and 13th districts are seen as the Democrats’ best chances to flip GOP-held districts in November. McCready and Manning have posted impressive fundraising totals, outraised their Republican counterparts and drawn national attention to their races.

Manning, an attorney, has raised more than $1.9 million and has $1.3 million cash on hand. Budd, who owns a gun store and shooting range, has raised $1.2 million and has $778,000 cash on hand.

Manning led Budd by just three points among women (36-33) in the poll, a striking difference from a July Quinnipiac poll that showed women nationally favoring Democratic candidates by 25 points. Twenty-five percent of women were undecided in the North Carolina poll. Budd led Manning 48-34 among men in the poll with just 12 percent undecided.

The poll found voters in the district support the federal tax bill passed by Republicans late last year with 41 percent supporting the law and 33 percent in opposition.

Murphy: 202.383.6089; Twitter: @MurphinDC
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