HPU Poll: Among Democratic Candidates, Biden Favored Among North Carolinians

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 12, 2019 – The High Point University Poll finds registered voters in North Carolina give former Vice President Joe Biden the highest favorability rating (48%) of a group of possible and declared Democratic candidates for president.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has the next highest favorability rating at 40%. More than 40% of respondents say they are unsure or have not heard of all candidates apart from Biden, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Part of the lack of name recognition for these candidates may be a relative lack of attention to the Democratic field so far in the presidential campaign. The HPU Poll also finds only 22% of registered voters in North Carolina say they have given a lot of thought to candidates who may be running for president in 2020.

A total of 30% of registered voters say it’s important for presidential candidates to have new ideas and a different approach. While 26% say it’s important for presidential candidates to have experience and a proven record.

“We are still very early in the presidential campaign,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “So, it is no surprise that most registered voters have not fully tuned into the presidential race, and name identification appears to drive these ratings.”

Registered Voters – Thought Given to Candidates (March/April 2019)

How much thought, if any, have you given to candidates who may be running for president in 2020? A lot, some, not much, or none at all?

A lot – 22%

Some – 37%

Not much – 25%

None at all – 14%

(Don’t know) – 1%

(Registered North Carolina Voters (self-identified) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 655 and credibility interval of +/- 5.9%)

Registered Voters – Favorability of Democratic Presidential Candidates (March/April 2019)

Here is a list of people who are running or might run for the Democratic nomination for President; please indicate whether you have a favorable or unfavorable view of each one. If you have never heard of one of the candidates, feel free to say so.

(Each respondent was asked about half of the candidates)

Registered Voters (n=655)

Name Favorable Unfavorable Unsure/have not heard of
Joe Biden 48 42 11
Bernie Sanders 40 49 11
Elizabeth Warren 30 47 23
Kamala Harris 29 30 41
Beto O’Rourke 23 29 48
Cory Booker 21 34 44
Julian Castro 17 26 58
Amy Klobuchar 14 27 59
Kirsten Gillibrand 14 32 54
Pete Buttigeig 12 20 69
Andrew Yang 11 22 68
John Hickenlooper 10 22 68
Jay Inslee 9 17 74
John Delaney 9 23 68
Tulsi Gabbard 8 25 68
Marianne Williamson 8 16 77
Steve Bullock 7 21 73
Wayne Messam 4 16 80

(Registered North Carolina Voters (self-identified) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 655 and credibility interval of +/- 5.9%)

Registered Voters – Want Presidential Candidate with Experience or New Ideas (March/April 2019)

Which of the following is more important to you in a presidential candidate: experience and a proven record or new ideas and a different approach?

Experience and a proven record – 26%

New ideas and a different approach – 30%

Both – 38%

Don’t know/refuse – 6%

(Registered North Carolina Voters (self-identified) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 655 and credibility interval of +/- 5.9%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 29 – April 4, 2019 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 841 adults interviewed online (602 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (239 respondents). Respondents were asked whether they were registered to vote, and of the full sample, 655 identified themselves as registered to vote in their precinct in North Carolina. The Survey Research Center contracted with Dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.4 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.3 (based on the weighting). For the registered voter sample, that credibility interval is 5.9 percentage points. The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race, and education level based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2019/04/65memoA.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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