?Incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr remains comfortably ahead of Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall in his bid for reelection in North Carolina.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely North Carolina Voters shows Burr enjoying his best showing to date, with 54% support to Marshall’s 38% when leaners are included. One percent (1%) favor some other candidate in the race, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.
These new findings move the race from Leans GOP to Solid GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings.
Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate. From this point forward, Rasmussen Reports considers results with leaners the primary indicator of the race.
If leaners are not included, Burr holds a 51% to 36% lead over Marshall, North Carolina’s longtime secretary of state. Last month, the Republican who is seeking a second six-year term in the Senate posted a 49% to 40% lead.
Burr has been ahead most of the year. Marshall pulled even temporarily in June, enjoying a bounce from her victory in a Democratic Primary runoff. But with the exception of the post-runoff poll, Burr’s support has ranged from 48% to 52% all year, while Marshall has earned 32% to 40% of the vote in those same surveys.
However, just 59% of Burr supporters say they are already certain how they will vote in November, compared to 71% of Marshall voters.
While Burr had long been viewed as one of the most vulnerable GOP senators in this election cycle, Democratic leaders clearly are moving away from that point of view. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in fact, is now shifting its hopes for pickups to the races in Kentucky and Missouri where Republicans are retiring from the Senate.
The survey of 500 Likely Voters in North Carolina was conducted on September 8, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.