RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina will get a new governor next year and so far the same front runners in each party remain just that.
A new Meredith College Poll of registered voters has current Lt. Governor Mark Robinson far ahead in the GOP primary at 41%. Attorney Bill Graham polled at 5% and State Treasurer Dale Folwell polled at 3%. But all may not be lost for the other GOP candidates who remain in the single digits as 42% of people who plan to vote in the Republican primary remain undecided.
It’s a similar situation on the democratic side with 44% undecided. That leaves room to grow for current N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, who has a commanding lead at 38% when compared to retired state supreme court justice Mike Morgan at 11%.
“Even though political watchers have been following both of them for a long time, it doesn’t mean that the average North Carolinian who’s trying to live her or his life or paying attention to D.C. happenings is really following state-level politics,” said David McLennan, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Meredith Poll.
When asked about the general election, voters polled put Stein two points ahead of Robinson with 38% versus 36%.
Also within the margin of error of 3.5% is the presidential race. President Joe Biden leads former president Donald Trump by one point, 40% to Trump’s 39%. Meanwhile, 17% said someone else would be the their pick. That shows a stark contrast to the N.C. gubernatorial race where only 5% of N.C. voters said they don’t know.
McLennan reminds people that a lot of things can happen in the next eleven months.
“It points to some other features in the poll in terms of favorability. Both Biden and Trump have low favorability. Biden’s is slightly higher. We’ve known for almost 20 years that North Carolina is a very closely divided state. And so I don’t put a lot of stock into polling something that’s over 11 months out in terms of is it predictive because it’s not,” McLennan said.
“What my polls for the governor’s race and for the presidential race indicated is that I expect both races to be extraordinarily tight,” McLennan added. “You know, we’ve got trials going on, we’ve got the economy, we’ve got world events—any of those could affect the polling results on a match up race like that. So I think my conclusion overall is North Carolina is in 2024 what it was in 2020 and 2016, an extraordinarily tight state.”
The No Labels party is selling itself as a possible third-party option. They’ve already managed to get on several state ballots, including North Carolina. However, 81% of those polled said they know very little or nothing at all about No Labels.
McLennan said that may be partly because No Labels has no named candidate.
“The fact that we only have about 2,600 registrants for the No Labels party in North Carolina, that kind of tracks with my poll results. It’s not attracting a lot of attention either in registrations or just simply in knowledge,” McLennan said.