Former President Donald Trump won the Tar Heel State by small margins in the last two presidential elections, and it looks as though the GOP frontrunner could take the state a third time, according to a new Fox News Poll of North Carolina registered voters.

The survey, released Wednesday, finds Trump (50%) ahead of President Joe Biden (45%) by 5 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. That’s inside the poll’s margin of sampling error.

In 2016, Trump won North Carolina by less than 4 points. In 2020, it was even closer, with Trump edging out Biden by a little more than a single point.


Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)

Trump receives strong support from his base, including Republicans (94%), White evangelicals (78%), White men without a college degree (71%), and rural Whites (67%). Self-identified independents also break for Trump by 11 percentage points (48% Trump vs. 37% Biden), which is still within the error of margin for this small subgroup.

Biden is ahead among his key coalition groups but to a lesser degree than Trump is with his: Democrats (91%), Black voters (75%), suburban women (59%), urban voters (57%), and voters with a college degree (55%). 


Additionally, 95% of 2020 Trump voters back their candidate again, while 90% of 2020 Biden voters say the same (5% defect to Trump and 4% wouldn’t vote or are unsure).

Voters under age 30 and those ages 65 and over are relatively split in their support between Biden and Trump.

Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)

Third-party candidates will likely be on the November ballot, and the survey shows they hurt Biden more than Trump.  When other candidates are included, Biden slips to 37%, Trump is still ahead, but drops to 46%, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 8%, Jill Stein 2%, and Cornel West 1%. 

Twice as many Biden supporters as Trump supporters break ranks in the five-way race. Fourteen percent of those who backed Biden in the one-on-one matchup against Trump say they would vote third party, while for Trump, that number is 7%. 

“Biden’s coalition is scattered in North Carolina — less than 8 in 10 Democrats are supporting him when third-party candidates are involved,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw. “But if partisans come to believe a third-party vote equals a vote for Trump, this race could tighten quickly, especially if Trump is convicted of something.” 

What about Trump’s legal battles and concerns over Biden’s mental acuity? A quarter of Trump backers (23%) say they would be very or somewhat likely to rethink their support because of his legal problems, while almost twice as many Biden backers (40%) say the same about issues surrounding his mental soundness. Still, majorities of both candidates’ supporters say it’s unlikely they’ll change their mind.  

Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)

Trump backers under age 35 (39%) and non-MAGA Republicans (29%) are those most likely to rethink supporting him, while among Biden backers it’s also those under 35 (66%), plus women (43%) and Black voters (39%). 

Meanwhile, Biden’s job rating is underwater: 41% approve vs. 59% disapprove. What’s more, North Carolina voters are more than twice as likely to strongly disapprove (45%) than strongly approve (20%).   

More than 4 in 10 (44%) North Carolinians feel they are falling behind financially — that’s more than three times as many as say they are getting ahead (13%).  Forty-two percent say they’re holding steady.  

The economy is the number one issue voters are considering when deciding their vote for president.  Sixty-six percent say the economy is extremely important to their vote, followed by health care (54%), election integrity (52%), immigration (49%), abortion (44%), foreign policy (35%), climate change (28%), and the war between Israel and Hamas (25%).  

The top 3 issues among Democrats are health care (63%), abortion, and the economy (55% each) while for Republicans it’s the economy (77%), immigration and border security (75%), and election integrity (57%). 

Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)

On the top issue of the economy, Trump is seen as better able to handle it than Biden by 16 points (56% Trump vs. 40% Biden). Trump’s also the choice for immigration/border security (+19 points), Israel-Hamas war (+15), and foreign policy (+8). 

Voters are split on other priorities such as health care (Biden +1) and election integrity (Biden +2). The story is similar on abortion (Biden +2), although Biden has a stronger hold on climate change (+8).

Voters largely back Trump when it comes to handling the Middle East conflict, and 6 in 10 North Carolinians side more with the Israelis than the Palestinians (59% vs. 22%).  Those backing the Israelis support Trump in the head-to-head, while those supporting the Palestinians go for Biden.

“North Carolina has been fool’s gold for Democrats in recent years, and these early results are daunting,” says Shaw. “If Biden can make the election about health care, abortion, and election integrity, he might be able to reclaim enough support among Democrats and independents to make a go of it. Right now, though, he’s leaking support among constituencies he desperately needs.”

Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)

What about Haley?

In a hypothetical head-to-head, Nikki Haley also bests Biden by 5 points, but doesn’t reach the 50% support Trump does: 46% Haley vs. 41% Biden. That’s because while 75% of Trump supporters from the 2-way matchup against Biden would back her, 6% go for Biden here and 18% would vote third-party, not vote at all, or are unsure. Haley’s helped by 15% of the 2-way Biden supporters backing her.


However, when the race is expanded to include third-party candidates, Haley finds herself trailing Biden by 2 points: 31% Haley vs. 33% Biden. Kennedy comes in third with 19% support, while West and Stein receive 2% apiece.

Fox News Poll

(Fox News Poll)


These results for Haley can also be attributed to defections among the 2-way Trump supporters as 3% would support Biden, 47% Haley, 29% Kennedy, 7% other, 7% undecided, and 7% would not vote at all.


Conducted Feb. 8-12, 2024 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with a sample of 1,099 North Carolina registered voters randomly selected from a statewide voter file. Respondents spoke with live interviewers on landlines (178) and cellphones (668) or completed the survey online after receiving a text message (253). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points. When necessary, weights are generally applied to age, race, education, and area variables to ensure the demographics of survey respondents are representative of the registered voter population.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *