The Carolina Forward February Poll

February 26, 2024


  • Both parties have mostly settled on their general election nominees for Governor and Attorney General
  • Suburban voters continue trending toward Democrats
  • North Carolina is headed towards another razor-thin election season


North Carolina is headed for another election season that will come right down to the wire. According to the latest Carolina Forward Poll, both the North Carolina Governor and Attorney General races are extremely close, with both the Republican and (presumptive) Democratic candidates in a statistical tie.

The Carolina Forward Poll, conducted by Change Research between February 15-19, surveyed 1,622 likely North Carolina voters, resulting in a margin of error of 2.6%.

None of the party primaries, for either office, are shaping up to be highly competitive. The Republican gubernatorial primary is decided: Lt. Governor Mark Robinson already holds a clear, 57% majority among likely Republican primary voters. Strikingly, Robinson’s support is almost wholly among rural and suburban Republicans; in urban areas, his support almost completely vanishes, and State Treasurer Dale Folwell picks up significant support.

As in other states, former President Donald Trump is on track to win North Carolina's Republican Presidential primary without any significant opposition. But not all Republican voters are pleased about it. Though 82% of Republican primary voters say they'll support Trump in the general election, 15% say they probably or definitely will not.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary is somewhat more competitive than the Republican race, but not by much. Attorney General Josh Stein holds a clear majority among Democratic primary voters, on the verge of an outright majority. 39% of Democratic primary voters remain undecided overall, however, including almost half of Black voters.

The Democratic primary for Attorney General is slightly more competitive. Congressman Jeff Jackson holds a clear edge over Durham District Attorney Satana Deberry. But "undecided" is still winning the primary overall, particularly among Black voters, 61% of whom remain undecided.

Looking at a head-to-head matchup between the respective party frontrunners for Governor, the Carolina Forward Poll finds that Mark Robinson and Josh Stein are in a statistical tie, with Robinson at 43% to Stein's 42%, and 15% of voters undecided. "Undecided" still wins a plurality of Independents, though Stein holds a small edge over Robinson. Robinson holds a strong position among white, rural men, while Stein is much stronger among women, suburban and urban voters, and Black voters.

This finding shows steady voter movement towards presumptive Democratic nominee, Josh Stein. The September 2023 edition of the Carolina Forward Poll found Robinson at 42%, Stein at 38%, with 20% undecided. In the last four and a half months, Stein has improved by four points to 42% (statistically significant improvement), while Robinson remains at 43%. It remains to be seen how, or if, Robinson is able to grow his appeal outside of the hardcore MAGA base, or whether his long record of conspiracy-laden extremism will put a ceiling on his mainstream appeal.

In the general election for Attorney General, the Poll finds that Congressmen Dan Bishop and Jeff Jackson are also closely matched. 1 in 5 voters remain undecided about the race overall, including an outright majority (53%) of independents. More than anything, this shows that most voters are still mostly unfamiliar with the Attorney General race, and both candidates.

Finally, the Carolina Forward Poll finds that Republicans and Democrats are equally closely divided in a generic ballot for the state legislature. Republicans hold a slight majority of 42% to Democrats at 40%, still well within the margin of error.

Next week, we'll be releasing additional findings from the February edition of the Carolina Forward Poll, including a survey of voters' top concerns, issue breakdowns on private school vouchers and paid sick leave, and voters' general impressions of both parties.

Part 2 of the poll results will be released next Monday.

View full topline results and crosstabs.

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