Biden and Trump in tight race in a changing North Carolina

North Carolina voters on November election
North Carolina voters on November election 04:04

North Carolina is up for grabs, and the stakes are high: 15 electoral votes in that swing state have become pivotal to both President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

A new CBS News Battleground Tracker poll shows former the former vice president with a slight lead in a state that Mr. Trump won in 2016. The poll shows Biden two percentage points ahead of the president there. (That's within the statistical margin of error.)

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CBS News

Correspondent Janet Shamlian, who spent the weekend talking with voters in North Carolina, said the selection of a Supreme Court nominee is having a significant impact there — a motivating force for voters on both sides — as 69% of likely voters say the court is a major factor in their vote.

From universities in the Research Triangle, to the Appalachian Mountains, to its craggy coastline, North Carolina has always been a study in contrasts. "Personally, I'm supporting Donald Trump," said Ron Regular, while for Kathy Martin, it's "Biden, Biden, Biden."

Gary McLean remarks on the changing political landscape, which this year has never been more diverse: "Oh, it's changed drastically, with population and all the people coming in."

There are reportedly more than 1.3 million new registered voters since the 2016 race, like Euphy Wu: "My friend told me North Carolina is a swing state, so my vote counts. So, yeah, I'm gonna vote."

Most newcomers are registering as unaffiliated with either party, a block that could sway the election. One-third of the state's voters are independent, like Kathy Martin, who's going to mail in her ballot.

"There's a lot of independents like me who might have voted for Trump last time who are gonna vote Biden this time because of what Trump has done," Martin said.

From rural farmers' markets to in-town fish fries, the talk now is of the Supreme Court nomination and how it's amplified the election.

"This is the most important election that I've ever had in my whole life," said Vivian Thomas McCoy, who will take her frustration to a polling place. "I think [Trump] should wait like the lady on her dying bed asked him to do – wait, and then, whoever the president is, whether it's him or Biden, then that person be put in office, because they wouldn't let Obama do that."

Deborah Bledsoe is a Trump supporter who opposes abortion: "There's no reason to block that if they're a good person and they are a lawyer and they know the law and they're gonna follow the law."

At a rural drive-in church service, Christopher Burwell said he's concerned about what's he heard about President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, judge Amy Coney Barrett. "She will do away with Obamacare, she will do away with Roe v. Wade."

In the sprint to Election Day, the president has made five trips to North Carolina in four weeks. Joe Biden visited last week, and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will be in the Tar Heel State today.

Those visits are happening as week-to-week coronavirus cases are on the rise – the deciding factor for Theresa Costanzo: "Mainly the virus, how that's been handled. I know that I can't even get a test even if I want a virus test, I've not been able to get one."

The changing colors of a battleground state: bluer cities and suburbs, and the areas around them, rural areas, turning redder

There's another critical race here, for the Senate seat. Republicans desperately need incumbent Thom Tillis to win to help them retain control of the Senate. But Tillis is in a dogfight.

The new CBS Battleground Tracker shows him trailing his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham, by 10 points.

CBS News/YouGov Battleground Track Poll: North Carolina