A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released on June 4th, found Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoying a modest 47-40 lead over Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush in North Carolina. The Tarheel State is a crucial battleground state that Republicans cannot afford to lose. Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008, but lost the state to Mitt Romney in 2012.
The poll also found Clinton leading or tied with eight other GOP candidates. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul fared best of the Republican candidates. Walker managed a 45-45 tie with Clinton, and Rand Paul tied her 44-44. Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio all trailed Clinton by margins ranging from one to seven percentage points.
Clinton polled especially strong with women voters and African-Americans in North Carolina. Although Jeb Bush held a slight 45-41 advantage with male voters, Clinton held a dominant 51-37 lead with women voters. Clinton also had a crushing advantage with black voters. The poll found Clinton garnering 86 percent support from African-American voters compared to a pitiful 3 percent who backed Jeb Bush.
While the election is still 16 months away, Hillary Clinton’s strong numbers in North Carolina bode well for Democratic prospects in 2016. By amassing overwhelming support from black voters and a decisive edge with women voters, Hillary Clinton is well positioned to lock down North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes.
The poll also points to Jeb Bush’s weakness if he becomes the Republican nominee. His 7-point deficit to Clinton in North Carolina matched fringe candidate Ted Cruz’s poor numbers in the state. Rather than being one of the strongest GOP candidates, Jeb Bush appears to be one of the weakest candidates in the Republican field.
Republicans have reason to fret about the poll numbers in the Tarheel State, because without carrying North Carolina the GOP has no path to victory in the 2016 presidential election. If the current polling numbers continue to hold in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton would not only carry the Tarheel State but the nation as well, becoming the 45th U.S. President.