The Republican and Democratic candidates have starkly different views on abortion, reducing inflation, climate change, and gun reform. But 9% of North Carolinians are still undecided.
The US Senate contest between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd is not just one of the most important in the nation this general election; it might also be the closest.
A new poll by Carolina Forward shows Budd with just a 1 point lead over Beasley, a former chief justice of the NC Supreme Court, which means that the race is essentially tied.
But the poll also shows that 9% of respondents are unsure who they will vote for on November 8. So North Carolina’s undecideds will likely decide this most pivotal of elections.
These voters will have plenty to think about in the final three weeks of the election.
Though Beasley and Budd may be close in the polls, they are miles apart on the issues.
From abortion to climate change, they offer very different positions on issues that will have huge effects on North Carolinians’ day-to-day lives, and the new poll shows a complicated picture.
Here are some of the poll’s takeaways and how Beasley and Budd, a US Congressman, fit in.
- 33% of Democratic respondents said that threats to Democracy were the most important issue when considering who to vote for. Only 12% of Republicans said the same.
Beasley has voiced support for the House Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection and several voter integrity measures. And while both candidates initially condemned the violence in strong terms, Budd also voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, and spoke of election fraud, one of the same false charges that drove the mob.
- Abortion remains an important issue for Democratic voters (13%) and for women (17%), but Democrats listed it behind economic issues including inflation (16%) and cost of living (14%).
Budd last month co-sponsored a Republican bill in the US House to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and has sponsored previous bills as well seeking to define life as beginning at conception, which would make practically all abortions illegal.
While Budd has expressed mixed messages about whether he would support exemptions for rape and incest in his ideal anti-abortion bill, he has said that he sees no reason why a woman who was a victim of rape would want to contribute to “a second tragedy.”
Beasley has said she would support a national law codifying abortion rights.
“It is important for women to make this decision for themselves with their doctor and there is absolutely no place in the exam room for Congressman Ted Budd.”
- Inflation was the biggest issue for Republicans, independents, men and women.
Beasley said she would have voted for the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Biden administration, but Ted Budd, like every other Republican, voted against it.
And in May when gas prices were rising nationwide because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the House passed a bill making it illegal for anyone to sell gasoline at an “unconscionably excessive” price. Ted Budd voted No.
- Both Democrats and Republicans are enthusiastic about voting, with 72% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats saying they are “highly motivated” to vote in November. This figure, the poll says, is unusual for a midterm election.
The poll, conducted the first week of October, surveyed 606 registered voters in North Carolina and had a margin of error of +/- 4%.
What About NC’s State Legislature?
The poll also asked respondents about the NC General Assembly, where Republicans need to win only a few extra seats to give them a supermajority, which would allow them to override any veto by Democratic Gov., Roy Cooper.
This race is also close, Democrats have a 2 percentage point lead, (47-45) over Republicans, with 8% undecided. This election is huge too.
So some of the most important elections in some time are taking place in North Carolina. And they all could go either way.