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New poll shows Hillary Clinton still leading in North Carolina

As seen in the 2012 Electoral College Results above, Hillary Clinton does not even need North Carolina to win in 2016.
As seen in the 2012 Electoral College Results above, Hillary Clinton does not even need North Carolina to win in 2016.
Screenshot by Ryan Witt

Hillary Clinton has been in the news a lot recently thanks to a new book release and the media blitz which has accompanied it. But the real intrigue behind Clinton is whether she will run for president in 2016, and more importantly whether she will win. Yesterday Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a new survey which shows, once again, that Clinton is the overwhelming favorite to win in 2016 should she decide to run.

The Overall Numbers

According to the PPP poll Clinton leads all the potential Republican challengers in North Carolina as seen below:

  • Clinton (45 percent) versus Jeb Bush (44 percent)
  • Clinton (46 percent) versus Rand Paul (43 percent)
  • Clinton (46 percent) versus Mike Huckabee (43 percent)
  • Clinton (45 percent) versus Chris Christie (41 percent)

What the Poll Means

Clinton's lead is very small (well within the margin of error as seen below), but it still shows her strength because Clinton does not even need to win North Carolina to win the Electoral College in 2016.

North Carolina has 15 Electoral College votes which are a must-win for Republicans to have any chance of winning in 2016.

Indeed, in 2012 President Obama lost North Carolina to Mitt Romney (Obama 48.35 percent to 50.39 percent for Mitt Romney) and yet still won the Electoral College by a 332-206 margin over Romney.

As mentioned earlier, Clinton is not leading by much in North Carolina, but if Republicans have to spend significant resources just to win a state they need it will sap resources from other states like Ohio, Colorado, and Florida.

Comparison to Other Polls

Unfortunately PPP has been the only pollster to do survey in North Carolina concerning the 2016 race. Since February PPP has consistently shown Clinton ahead of Chris Christie. All of PPP's surveys (nine total since April 2013) have shown Clinton leading Paul, Bush, and Huckabee.

It certainly would be helpful to have data from other pollsters, but PPP does have a solid reputation based on their fairly accurate surveys published before the 2012 and 2008 races. In fact, in 2012 PPP's poll's actually favored the Republican, Mitt Romney, by a 1.6 point margin on average.

The Sample

Every poll is ultimately based on a sampling of potential voters. A number of factors can influence the poll's accuracy such as sample size and composition

In this poll PPP surveyed 1076 registered voters from June 12th to June 15th. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3 percent.

Of the poll's respondents, 41 percent said they planned to vote for Democrat in the next election for the state legislature while 43 percent said they would vote Republican. A total of 43 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, with 36 percent identifying themselves as Republican and 22 percent as independents. These party identification breakdowns are not out of line at all in a state which has been closely contested in the last two presidential elections.