The latest on the presidential horse race.

North Carolina 2016: Bush, Paul Pull Into Virtual Tie With Hillary, Christie Leads

PPP, 12/5-12/8
North Carolina:

  • Clinton: 42, Christie: 43
  • Clinton: 46, Bush: 45
  • Clinton: 48, Paul: 44
  • Clinton: 49, Cruz: 41

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be in trouble in the critical swing state of North Carolina as she trails Chris Christie and is now in a virtual tie with Jeb Bush and Rand Paul.

The poll, conducted between December 5 and December 8, sampling 1,281 registered North Carolina voters, found that if the election were held today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would win North Carolina against the former First Lady by a margin of 45-42. The last North Carolina poll conducted in November also showed Christie with a three-point lead over Clinton, 46-43.

While Christie leads Clinton in most swing states, the rest of the Republican pack tends to finish far behind the Democratic frontrunner in hypothetical head-to-head polls. That wasn’t the case in this poll as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have all pulled within a few points of Hillary, well within the margin of error.

Bush, who is emerging as a Republican alternative to Christie without the baggage of the Tea Party like Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have, trails Clinton by just one-point, 46-45. The margin of error for the poll is 4.3 percent so a one-point lead is hardly a real lead. It’s an important trend, however, since while Christie’s lead stayed the same, Bush improved from four-points down back in November.

Paul saw his numbers improve as well as he found himself within just 4 percent of the former New York Senator. Paul now trails Hillary by a margin of 48-44, still within the margin of error. In November, Paul was nine points back of Clinton so this was a significant improvement.

Cruz improved as well but remains a longshot in both the hypothetical matchups and the Republican nomination race itself. Clinton leads Cruz in North Carolina by a margin of 49-41. That’s still better than the 12-point deficit Cruz had in November.

It’s important to note that the percentage of the vote that Hillary would get has gone essentially unchanged since November. Instead, undecided voters are slowly coming around to the Republican candidates while Clinton’s support seems to have plateaued.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)