Get in Touch

Biden and Sanders in Close Race in North Carolina Presidential Primary; Potential General Election Matchups Competitive

With only days to go until the North Carolina primary election on Tuesday, March 3, former Vice President Joe Biden currently has the support of 29% of likely voters, followed by Bernie Sanders (25%), Michael Bloomberg (14%), Elizabeth Warren (11%), Amy Klobuchar (5%), Pete Buttigieg (4%), and Tulsi Gabbard (1%). Approximately 9% remain undecided.* (Tom Steyer received 3%, but dropped out of the race after Saturday’s South Carolina primary.)

Among African Americans who are likely to vote in the North Carolina Democratic primary, Joe Biden leads with 35%. Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders trail with 21% and 20% respectively. Elizabeth Warren polls at 8%. All other remaining candidates poll at 1% or less.

By comparison, Biden leads Sanders, 27% to 25%, among likely white voters, followed by Warren (13%), Bloomberg (11%), Buttigieg (7%), Klobuchar (6%), and Gabbard (1%).

Among older likely voters who are age 55 and above, Joe Biden leads with 34%, followed by Michael Bloomberg at 16%, and Elizabeth Warren at 13%. All other candidates are in single digits.

Among younger voters (those 18 to 34 years old), Bernie Sanders leads with 56%, followed by Michael Bloomberg at 16%. All other candidates are in single digits.

The most competition lies with voters between the ages of 35 to 54. Among these likely voters, Biden leads Sanders, 34% to 31%, followed by Warren (12%), Bloomberg (11%), Klobuchar (4%), Buttigieg (2%) and Gabbard (2%).

Turning to potential matchups in the November general election, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are in a virtual tie among registered voters in North Carolina (48% for Biden and 46% for Donald Trump). The same is true for a matchup between Trump and Bloomberg (46% for Trump and 45% for Michael Bloomberg). Of the remaining top-tier Democrats, Trump leads Bernie Sanders 48% to 43%; and Trump leads Warren 49% to 41%.

In a likely matchup for U.S. Senate, incumbent Thom Tillis has the support of 44% of registered voters compared to 42% for potential Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham.

In the race for governor, incumbent Roy Cooper leads potential challenger Dan Forest, 49% to 41%. In a potential matchup against Republican Holly Grange, Cooper leads 49% to 33%.


* The poll also asked undecided voters a follow-up question: “Although you are undecided, which candidate, at this moment, do you lean most towards voting for in the Democratic primary election for president?” When including these responses, Biden’s lead over Sanders increases to six points, 31% to 25%.


This poll was conducted February 27-28, 2020. The sample consisted of completed responses from 1,288 registered voters in North Carolina, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The subsample of likely Democratic voters had a CI of +/- 5.1 (n=499). The data were weighted by age, education, race, gender, mode, and 2016 election modeling. The results based on race and age carry with them a higher margin of error due to the smaller sample size. Data were collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=732) and an online panel provided by Lucid (n=556).

Media Gallery
Related Bios
Peter Francia
Director of the Center for Survey Research
View Full Bio>>
Jonathan Morris
Senior Polling Scientist of the ECU Center for Survey Research
View Full Bio>>
Peter Francia
Jonathan Morris
ECU Media Contact