GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – Rep. Ted Budd, former President Donald Trump’s nominee of choice in the US Senate race in North Carolina, has built a dominant lead even as voters cast their ballots in the Republican primary.
Budd, Advance’s 13th District Representative, who earned Trump’s support and has millions of dollars in Super PAC money to spend, now has the support of 43% of Republican voters based on the most recent WGHP/The Hill/Emerson College poll, a 5-point increase from the first poll conducted in April.
That increased Budd’s lead to 27 points over his closest challenger, former Gov. Pat McCrory, among the 14 Republicans seeking to replace retired Senator Richard Burr. McCrory (16%) lost six points from the previous poll, and former Greensboro Rep. Mark Walker won three points as a third pick, receiving 12%. Kenneth Harper had 3% and David Flaherty and Marjorie Eastman each had 2%.
Budd appears to have benefited from more voters making up their minds — 16% are undecided, compared to 23% in April — and 61% of likely voters said Trump’s support is important, up two percentage points from April.
Just 14% said Trump’s approval makes them less likely to vote for his choice, but 25% said it wouldn’t make a difference.
The poll was conducted Saturday through Monday among 1,000 registered voters via telephone and online polling, weighted by various demographics based on 2022 turnout modelling. The survey has a confidence interval – which equals a margin of error – of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
Early in-person voting continues through the Saturday before Tuesday’s primary, and 28% of respondents said they had already voted. Another 56% said they were very likely to vote and 9% somewhat likely. Budd would need 30% plus one vote to avoid a runoff.
Eastman had joined McCrory and Walker in half of the four televised debates held in that race, but Budd sat them all out, including the last one at WGHP, citing his preference for speaking to voters rather than comparing positions on issues .
Budd, a gun store owner who has been in Congress since 2016, has a $14 million pledge from the Club for Growth, a conservative super-PAC that helped fund his rise from a field of 17 candidates to support this to win a seat.
Trump surprised some when he tossed his support to Budd, but Budd was one of 147 Republicans who objected to confirming President Joe Biden’s election on Jan. 6, 2021, even after Trump supporters attacked the Capitol and members of Congress went into hiding . Budd also voted against impeachment.
Budd has topped every poll conducted by news sites before this election. Both McCrory and Walker have denounced the fact that Budd’s campaign was fueled by the numerous Club for Growth television ads attacking his opponents
“I met with President Trump, and he promised his full support in any election I would have,” Walker said in the closing debate. “But this [his choosing Budd] was an example of endorsements and backroom deals in Washington. North Carolina doesn’t want to be told what to do.”
McCrory said: “Let these voters know that Ted Budd is a poster child for everything that’s wrong in Washington, DC. Bought and paid for by a third party group who paid $14M for fraudulent ads about Mark and I.”
Head to head for November
There are also 11 Democrats running for the nomination, and Cheri Beasley, former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, is the presumptive nominee and has garnered by far the most entries among candidates from both parties. The survey did not compare her to other candidates.
But it shows Budd has a 7 percentage point lead in a head-to-head match, 48% to 41%, with 10% of voters undecided. That’s the same range as shown in April polls.
The poll shows Beasley would beat McCrory head-on, 44% to 39% with 17% tied. There was no neck-and-neck race with Walker in this poll.
Much of Budd’s advantage rests with male voters, the data shows, with women more evenly distributed.
“There is a gender divide in the potential duel between Budd and Beasley in the North Carolina general election,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a press release. “A majority, 51%, of male voters support Ted Budd compared to 39% who support Cheri Beasley, while female voters are split: 45% support Budd and 44% support Beasley.”
https://www.cbs17.com/news/new-poll-shows-trump-backed-budd-surging-ahead-in-bid-for-gop-senate-seat/ New poll shows Trump-backed Budd making headway in bid for GOP Senate seat