President Obama lost both North Carolina and Arizona in 2012—but as Donald Trump’s campaign struggles this summer, a new set of polls shows a close race in one of these states, and a five-point margin in the other.
Clinton leads GOP nominee Donald Trump by one point in North Carolina among all adults in a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday, 44 percent to 43 percent. When the sample is reduced to just registered voters, the race becomes a tie between the two candidates. That’s similar toreleased Wednesday from Monmouth University, which found Clinton leading by two points in the state.
And in Arizona, Trump leads Clinton by five points, taking 43 percent to her 38 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson follows with 12 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein was at four percent in the poll. Trump’s lead increases slightly, to seven points, when the sample is narrowed down to just registered voters.
If Trump were to lose either state, his path to 270 electoral votes would become much harder—especially as Clinton holds increasingly solid leads in other battleground states like Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Part of Clinton’s strength in both states comes from their large and growing minority populations, a theory supported by the CNN poll. In North Carolina, which has a large African American population, Clinton takes 88 percent of the demographic, compared with just 3 percent for Trump (and 7 percent for Johnson). And in Arizona, where Latino voters make up a significant portion of the electorate, Clinton takes 57 percent, compared with 20 percent for Trump, 15 percent for Johnson and 5 percent for Stein.
But Trump has a lead among independent voters in both states: in Arizona, self-identified independents support him by a 14-point margin, 41 percent to 27 percent, and in North Carolina he leads among independents by 2 points, 40 percent to 38 percent.
Both North Carolina and Arizona are key states in the battle for Senate control as well; the survey finds a healthy lead forin Arizona but a tight race for incumbent GOP Sen. Richard Burr in North Carolina.
In Arizona, McCain leads Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick by 13 points, 52 percent to 39 percent; in North Carolina, Burr only leads Democratic challenger Deborah Ross by 3 points among registered voters, 49 percent to 46 percent.
CNN/ORC surveyed 1,003 adults, including 842 registered voters, in either English or Spanish in Arizona; the outfit surveyed 1,009 adults, including 912 registered voters, in North Carolina. Both surveys were conducted from Aug. 18-23 and the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.