Raleigh, N.C. – For the first time in our polling of the North Carolina Senate race, presumptive frontrunner Thom Tillis has opened a little bit of space between himself and the rest of his opponents in the Republican primary. Tillis now leads the field with 19% to 11% for Greg Brannon and Heather Grant, 8% for Mark Harris, and 7% for Bill Flynn. Tillis has gained 6 points from his 13% standing a month ago, while Harris has declined by 4 points from the 12% he had previously. Everyone else has more or less stayed in place.
The name recognition Tillis gained by being the first candidate to run tv ads probably helped drive his increased support this month. 46% of Republican primary voters are familiar with Tillis, compared to less than 30% for everyone else in the field. Tillis is now leading in every region of the state except the Triad, where Flynn is well known from a long radio career.
Despite Tillis' increased support this primary would still be headed to a runoff if the election was today. If the undecided voters broke proportionately to their current candidate preferences it would only be enough to get Tillis to 34%, well short of the 40% needed in North Carolina to win the primary outright.