Yesterday Public Policy Polling released a new survey which shows former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton leading all potential Republican presidential candidates in the state of North Carolina in a potential 2016 presidential election matchup. The poll shows Clinton with a slight lead over Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, and Chris Christie, the current Governor of New Jersey. The poll shows Clinton with a much larger lead over other potential Republican runners such as Senator Rand Paul and former Governor Mike Huckabee.
North Carolina has 15 electoral votes in the 2016 election. President Obama won the state by one percent in 2008, but then lost the state to Mitt Romney by two points in 2012. As seen in the most recent Electoral College map projection, it would be very hard for Republican to garner a 270 electoral vote majority without winning North Carolina in 2016.
PPP surveyed respondents from March 6 to March 9. The survey polled 884 registered voters from North Carolina, a method which includes more voters than the “likely voter” model used by other pollsters. The registered voter sampling method may serve to benefit Clinton’s numbers since it could theoretically include more voters than those that will actually vote, but it is still very early in the process.
According to the poll, Clinton leads Bush by just one percentage point (47 percent to 46 percent). Bush presumably benefits from his experience as a southern governor. The matchup of Clinton versus Bush would provide a interesting storyline since Jeb Bush’s father was defeated by Clinton’s husband in the 1992 presidential election.
The second closest to Clinton in PPP’s poll is Chris Christie, who trails Clinton be four points (46 percent to 42 pecent). Christie was polling better before the “Bridgegate” scandal hit his administration. Some also question whether Christie will be able to win the Republican Party nomination in primaries dominated by more conservative voters.
Clinton has larger leads over Rand Paul (49 percent to 43 percent) and Mike Huckabee (49 percent to 42 percent), but the race is still close in those states.
Overall it looks like North Carolina will once again be competitive in 2016. Right now the Electoral College map projects still has North Carolina going to Republicans despite this most recent poll. If Clinton continues to poll well in the state, particularly with other pollsters as well, that projection could soon change.