RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new CBS 17/Emerson College poll shows Gov. Roy Cooper holds a lead over his challenger in the North Carolina gubernatorial race – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

A total of 52.2 percent said they would vote to re-elect Cooper (D) if the election were held today.

Forest (R) received 43.9 percent of the vote with 3.9 percent saying they were undecided.

A little more than 12 percent said they were neutral or had to opinion of the job Cooper is doing as governor while 47.5 percent said they approved.

People saying they disapproved of Cooper’s job made up 40.2 percent of the poll.

The race between Cooper and Forest has been dominated by the governor’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooper says he uses data to determine what steps North Carolina will take when reopening. Earlier this week, he announced a new step in the gradual reopening of the state.

While 42.1 percent said Cooper has been reopening the state on an appropriate timeline, 39.3 percent said the governor is moving too slowly.

Just 18.6 percent said Cooper was reopening North Carolina too quickly.

As recently as Sept. 17, Cooper said elementary school students would be allowed to return to in-person learning.

The poll asked if in-person learning should be considered amid the pandemic.

The poll shows 38.1 percent said in-person learning should be considered while 37.6 percent said it should not.

Nearly a quarter of respondents were unsure.

Friday’s data follows a series of releases from the CBS 17/Emerson College poll that asked questions pertaining to the presidential race, senatorial race, and more.