NC still looks like a swing state for 2016, Clinton and Carson lead primaries

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s early polling on who Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina would like as their candidate for President in 2016 finds that 5 different potential candidates hit double digits on the GOP side, while Hillary Clinton continues to be the overwhelming choice on the Democratic side. 

Ben Carson leads the way for the Republicans with 19% to 15% for Jeb Bush, 14% each for Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, 11% for Paul Ryan, 7% for Rick Perry, 5% each for Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, and 4% for Marco Rubio.

Carson’s name recognition isn’t as high as the other Republicans, but among those familiar with him 47% have a favorable opinion to just 12% with a negative one. Huckabee (67/17) and Bush (61/17) are also pretty popular with the Republican base, while feelings toward Christie (42/32) are considerably more mixed. 

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be pretty dominant. She’s at 52% to 18% for Joe Biden, 7% for Elizabeth Warren, 5% for Bernie Sanders, 4% for Andrew Cuomo, 2% for Jim Webb, 1% for Martin O’Malley, and less than half a percent for Brian Schweitzer.

What’s particularly noteworthy in Clinton’s numbers is how consistent they are across various demographic lines. She’s at 55% with ‘very liberal’ voters, 55% with ‘somewhat liberal’ ones, and 52% with moderates. She’s at 57% with African Americans and 52% with whites. She’s at 53% with seniors, 52% with middle aged voters, and 52% with younger voters. The only place where you see a real divide is along gender lines where she gets 56% with women and 48% with men.

At least at this very early stage it looks like North Carolina will yet again be a swing state in 2016 if Clinton is indeed the Democrat nominee. She is very closely matched with all of her potential Republican opponents, leading Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie each by 2 points at 46/44 and 44/42 respectively, while tying Bush and Carson at 46% and 44% respectively. Those numbers show there isn’t a big electability difference between the Republican candidates at least at this point. We also tested Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in head to head match ups with Bush and Carson, and they fare a good bit worse than Clinton. Biden trails Bush 47/42 and Carson 45/40, while Warren trails Bush 46/39 and Carson 44/37.

The only candidates we tested who have a positive net favorability among the entire electorate in North Carolina are Ben Carson at +12 (31/19) and Mike Huckabee at +5 (39/34).

It’s hard to say how the 2016 election cycle will unfold but North Carolina was the second closest state in the country in the Presidential race in both 2008 and 2012, and early indications are that it has the potential to be pretty tight once again.

Full results here

Related Polls