Bush reclaims lead from Walker in NC

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll helps to show how Ted Cruz’s surge after entering the race is stunting Scott Walker’s momentum a little bit. Jeb Bush now leads the GOP field in the state with 19% to 16% for Walker, with Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Marco Rubio each at 11%, Ben Carson at 9%, Chris Christie at 7%, Rand Paul at 6%, and Rick Perry at 2%.

Cruz is up 8 points from his 3% standing a month ago, while Walker is down 8 points from 24% standing on that previous poll. Those shifts are not a coincidence- Cruz is really eating into Walker’s support with voters who describe themselves as ‘very conservative.’ A month ago Walker led Cruz 32/7 with them, but now the spread is just 19/17. And when you ask Cruz supporters who their second choice is, 39% pick Walker with no one else getting more than 16%. It’s clear that Walker has been the main person hurt by Cruz’s sudden strength. 

Only 2 other candidates saw their support move by more than 2 points in North Carolina compared to our last poll. Rubio’s support is up 4 points from 7% to 11%, Mike Huckabee’s is down 4 points from 15% to 11%, and Ben Carson’s is down 3 points from 12% to 9%. Huckabee and Carson were also on the decline on our national poll last week.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton leads with 53% to 13% for Joe Biden, 11% for Elizabeth Warren, 5% for Martin O’Malley, 3% for Jim Webb, and 2% for Bernie Sanders. Everyone’s support is within 3 points of where it was a month ago.

General election match ups for President in North Carolina remain very close, although Clinton has slipped a little bit from a month ago. On the last poll she led by an average of 2 points across her 9 match ups with the potential Republican contenders, this month she trails by an average of 1 point, 

The Republicans who do the best against Clinton, even if they aren’t doing as well with the primary electorate this month, are Huckabee who leads by 5 at 48/43 and Walker who leads by 3 at 46/43. The other GOP hopeful with an advantage is Rick Perry at 45/44. Clinton is tied at 45 with Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. Her leads come against Jeb Bush (45/44), Ben Carson (also 45/44), and Chris Christie (43/41.)

Even if Clinton trails Walker by 3, she’s still easily the strongest Democratic candidate. Joe Biden would start out 9 points behind Walker (48/39) and Elizabeth Warren has a 10 point deficit (46/36). Overall the picture in North Carolina continues to suggest a very close Presidential race just like the state had in 2008 and 2012.

Full results here

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