An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Friday gives Democrats Roy Cooper and Hillary Clinton their biggest leads so far in North Carolina.
While most polls so far have indicated a near-tie between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic attorney general Roy Cooper, the new poll found that 51 percent of registered voters surveyed prefer Cooper. Only 44 percent said they favor McCrory – a widening lead from the firm’s July poll that gave Cooper a 49-45 lead.
Clinton has a nine-point lead over Republican Donald Trump among registered North Carolina voters in the presidential race – even when the survey added the choice of third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
In a head-to-head contest, Clinton was the preference of 48 percent of registered voters, while Trump received 39 percent. The same poll in July gave Clinton a 44-38 lead in the state.
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That’s bad news for Trump because North Carolina is considered a must-win state for his campaign.
In the U.S. Senate race, the poll is the first to give Democrat Deborah Ross a narrow lead – all previous polls have found Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr in the lead. Ross has 46 percent of registered voters in the new poll, with Burr at 44 percent. Burr had a 48-41 lead in the firm’s July poll.
Still, Ross’ lead is within the poll’s margin of error.
The Marist Poll conducted the survey between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10 and questioned 921 registered voters in the state. The margin of error is 3.2 percent.