NC Senate Race: Political experts weigh in after poll shows Cunningham with lead over Tillis

Tillis-Cunningham Debate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WSPA) – 7 News is your local election headquarters. We’re getting details on a new 7 News/Emerson college poll, which is answering two big questions: Who you’re voting for in the U.S. Senate race between Thom Tillis and Cal Cunningham, and how you are voting.

We asked more than 700 people across the state: “If the election were held today who would they cast their vote for?”

Cal Cunningham got about 49 percent and Thom Tillis got about 43 percent. Roughly eight percent were undecided.

We talked with two political experts about these results, who looked at them two completely different ways.

The race is heating up and getting closer and closer to Election Day, you are bound to see more ads and more debates.

β€œIt looks like minds are made up, and it’s about the parties turning out their bases and getting them mobilized to vote,” J. Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College, said.

Bitzer said he was not surprised by the results.

β€œCal Cunningham has maintained a lead over Thom Tillis. This is fitting with the narrative of what we’ve been seeing over time,” Bitzer said.

But Professor Susan Roberts of Davidson College said those numbers need to be approached a different way, specifically, by paying attention to the undecided voter percentage.

β€œWe don’t know how this unaffiliated is going to vote, but we do know that record numbers are requesting ballots,” Roberts said.

Basically, who people are voting for is as important as how they are voting. The poll took place between Wednesday and Friday of last week, and may only partially take into account the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

That could be another wild card for the senate race as the senate has the final say on who will replace her on the court.

Those numbers could change, and that undecided number could tighten depending on Tuesday night’s debate.

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