Poll: Trump-Endorsed Rep. Ted Budd Takes Huge Lead in North Carolina Senate Primary

Trump-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) is leading his competitors by double-digits as the May 17 Republican primary draws closer, according to an Emerson College/The Hill poll released Tuesday.

Out of 508 North Carolina voters polled for the Republican primary, 38 percent say they would vote for Budd, followed by former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory at 22 percent, and former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) at 9 percent. Twenty-three percent of voters are still undecided. The senate hopefuls are running to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).  

“The poll focused on the 14 Republicans seeking to succeed retiring Republican Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, and it’s clear that Budd appears to have surpassed the 30 percent-plus-one threshold required to avoid a run-off election that might have been expected in such a crowded field,” CBS 17 said of the poll results. 

Fifty-nine percent of Republican Primary voters say former President Donald Trump’s endorsement makes them “more likely to vote for a candidate,” the survey noted, adding that half of undecided voters agree. Trump granted Budd an endorsement last summer while speaking at the North Carolina Republican Party convention, saying Budd will “fight like hell.”

Executive Director of Emerson College Polling Spencer Kimball said Budd and establishment-backed McCrory are “evenly split” 31 percent apiece among suburban voters. However, Budd crushes McCrory with rural voters 42 percent to 11 percent. 

“Ted Budd’s position in the Republican primary is strong,” Kimball said in a Zoom interview with CBS 17. “I was thinking it would be more competitive with McCrory. It’s really down to two candidates.”

The poll also tested hypothetical general election matchups against Democrat nominee and former chief justice of the state Supreme Court Cheri Beasley. The poll did not ask voters about her competitors because she is the “almost certain nominee among 11 Democrats now that state Sen. Jeff Jackson is running for Congress” the CBS affiliate explained. 

Budd leads Beasley 50 percent to 43 percent with 8 percent undecided, and Walker leads Beasley 47 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent undecided. McCrory is the only one out of the top three GOP candidates who trails Beasley, 43 percent to 41 percent with 17 percent undecided. Beasley tied 44 percent to 44 percent against Republican candidate Marjorie K. Eastman, though only 1 percent of GOP primary voters say they would cast their ballots for her. 

Another recent poll conducted March 22-23 by Vitales & Associates also showed Budd leading the GOP primary with 32 percent of voters backing him. McCory followed him with 29 percent and Walker with 12 percent.

The Emerson College/the Hill poll was conducted April 2-4 with 1,047 registered North Carolina voters for the general elections and 508 for the GOP primary. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.

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