The most recent Meredith Poll, in the field November 1-5, 2023, asked North Carolina voters about their preferences in the upcoming primary, their perceptions of political parties including “No Labels,” and their level of civic knowledge.
Highlights of the Meredith Poll findings are below. For complete results, view the full report
Primary and General Election Preferences
In the Republican primary, Former President Donald Trump and N.C. Lt. Governor Mark Robinson remain favored to win their party’s nomination for president and governor. Trump holds a commanding lead over his Republican challengers in North Carolina. Over half (51%) of respondents indicating they were likely to vote in the Republican primary next March supported Trump.
“Trump’s lead in North Carolina seems very consistent since the last administration of the Meredith Poll. Even with Republicans dropping out of the race, there seems to be no momentum for any of Trump’s challengers in the state,” said Meredith Poll Director David McLennan.
Republican Gubernatorial Primary
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson holds a large lead over his Republican challengers for the party’s nomination for governor. Just over forty percent of likely Republican primary voters (41%) indicate a preference for Robinson. No other candidate gets more than five percent of the Republican primary vote. However, a plurality of likely primary voters (42%) indicated that they had not made up their minds.
“Mark Robinson has a significant lead with just under five months until voting begins in the N.C. primary, but a large number of Republican voters are undecided. There could be a competitive primary, but it looks unlikely unless one of Robinson’s challengers catches fire,” said McLennan.
Democratic Gubernatorial Primary
Attorney General Josh Stein retains a healthy lead (38-11%) over former NC Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan for the Democratic nomination for governor. Although a plurality of Democratic primary voters (42%) say they are undecided with five months until the election, Morgan has yet to convince this large group of voters that he is the alternative to Stein. Although Stein is favored among most demographic groups, Morgan retains strength among Black voters, younger voters, and evangelical voters.
“The high number of undecided voters is no surprise five months before the primary election. For many primary voters, the campaign does not begin in earnest until after the holidays,” said McLennan. “It may be difficult for Morgan to overcome Stein’s advantages that include a strong campaign war chest and the endorsement of Governor Roy Cooper.”
General Election Preferences
The poll also asked voters their preferences between the likely nominees for president and governor.
Although it is very premature to survey voters on a Trump-Biden matchup in the 2024 general election, our results confirmed what most election watchers believe — we are going to have a very tight contest for North Carolina’s 16 Electoral College votes. Our results had Biden edging Trump by a narrow margin (40-39%) with 17 percent of respondents indicating that they preferred someone else. The results are well within our confidence interval, meaning this race could go either way.
“Given our recent presidential election history in North Carolina, we should expect to see one of the major party nominees win the state by a few points or less,” said McLennan. “The results we have are not predictive of a winner, especially given the volatility we are likely to see during the next year.”
Just as with the general election matchups between presidential candidates, the matchup between Mark Robinson and Josh Stein produced very close results. In our survey, Stein prevailed over Robinson by two points (38-36%), with almost one in five voters indicating that they were not sure. These results are also well within the confidence interval (3.5%).
Perceptions of the Political Parties, Including No Labels and Unaffiliated Voters
Many North Carolinians know little about the political parties in the state or how the process parties use to select their general election candidates works. Just over half (53%) know that North Carolina has a semi-closed primary system, meaning that only those registered with the specific political party and unaffiliated voters can vote in that party’s primary. Most troubling was the fact that just over half of the unaffiliated voters in our survey knew that they could vote in a primary of one of the recognized political parties in the state.
In terms of perceptions about the ideologies of Democratic, Republican, and unaffiliated voters, stereotypes exist. Large majorities of respondents said Democrats were mostly liberal (61%), Republicans were mostly conservative (73%), and unaffiliated voters were mostly moderate (52%), although one in five people said they did not know about unaffiliated voters.
“Very little is known about unaffiliated voters in North Carolina. Despite abundant news stories touting the growth of unaffiliated voters in the state, most people think this group is equivalent to registered Libertarian Party voters in terms of size,” said David McLennan. “There is also the perception that registered Democrats and Republicans are more ideologically extreme than they actually are. As our survey results indicate, only 24 percent of North Carolinians consider themselves very conservative or very liberal.”
No Labels Party
Only 20 percent of our respondents knew some or a lot about “No Labels”, while 52 percent knew nothing at all. Likewise, less than 20 percent said they would consider voting for candidates running under the No Labels banner. However, when asked about whether this party would have a positive impact on the political system or be disruptive, our respondents were almost evenly split, with 34 percent stating No Labels would be disruptive and 37 percent thinking the party would have a positive impact.
“The No Labels Party may become a political force in North Carolina, but right now there are very few North Carolinians paying attention to this party,” said David McLennan. “Given that only 2,655 voters are registered for this party, out of over 7.3 million voters in N.C., it does not appear as this party has gained much traction yet.”
Since it is widely reported that Americans’ knowledge of civics is abysmal, we decided to test North Carolinians on their knowledge of U.S. and North Carolina civics. The results demonstrated that North Carolinians know decidedly less about government institutions and practices in the state than they do the nation.
View the full report for these results and more, including voter approval of current officeholders and their feelings about the direction of the state and nation.
The Meredith Poll conducted a survey of North Carolina registered voters. The online sample–from Dynata–used a quota based on the most recent US Census estimates of North Carolina to sample our respondents. After the survey was completed, we weighted the survey for gender, party affiliation, geographic location, race and ethnicity, and education so that our sample most closely resembles North Carolina.
The sample had 755 respondents, giving us a confidence interval of +/- 3.5%. The survey was in the field November 1-5, 2023.
About Meredith Poll
The Meredith Poll asks North Carolinians their opinions on a variety of social and political public issues. It is housed in the Department of History, Political Science, and International Studies at Meredith College, one of the largest women’s colleges in the Southeast. The Meredith Poll was launched in the spring of 2015 as part of Meredith’s commitment to civic engagement.