The battle for 2020: Possible Democratic presidential nominees
North Carolina voters prefer former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over the rest of the Democratic 2020 presidential field, according to a poll released Thursday by Elon University.
The results are in keeping with other state and national polls that show Biden and Sanders atop the field of Democratic contenders.
The Elon Poll also found a generic Democratic candidate with an edge on President Donald Trump. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for the Democratic candidate with 36.4 percent saying they would cast their ballot for Trump, who won North Carolina in the 2016 election with 49.8 percent of the vote.
The percentage of N.C. voters with a positive impression of announced and potential Democratic candidates put Biden at 54.4 percent and Sanders at 44 percent. No other candidate broke the 30-percent mark — with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 29.6 percent, California Sen. Kamala Harris at 26.6 percent, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at 24 percent and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 22.8 percent.
Biden has not yet announced he will run for president, but his net favorability rating of plus-24.3 was by far the highest of any candidate. Biden was a senator from Delaware before serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2016.
Bloomberg announced he won’t run for president.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who formally announced Thursday that he would run for president, was at 19.2 percent, ahead of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (14.3 percent), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (13.6 percent) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (13.3 percent).
Less than 10 percent of N.C. voters had a positive impression of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (9.4 percent) and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (5.6 percent).
Outside of Biden, only Sanders, Booker, Harris, Klobuchar and O’Rourke enjoyed positive net-favorability ratings. But none of them registered better than Sanders’ plus-3.5 points — far behind Biden’s level.
North Carolina’s presidential primaries will be held on March 3 as part of Super Tuesday.
Elon interviewed 914 voters for the survey with 423 interviewed on the telephone or through email and 491 in an opt-in survey sample online. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 points.