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Civitas Poll: Unaffiliated voters and low name I.D. present uphill battle for Marshall


Raleigh, N.C. – Democratic candidate Elaine Marshall faces an uphill battle in the race for US Senate due to low name identification and unaffiliated voters abandoning her by a 44 percent-31 percent margin in favor of incumbent Republican Richard Burr according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, Burr continues to lead Marshall as 44 percent of voters said they would vote for him if the election for U.S. Senate were held today. Thirty-seven percent said they would vote for Marshall, and 15 percent said they were undecided.

Additionally, voters look to be breaking along party lines, increasing the margin of difference between the candidates by 16 points. Republicans lean heavily toward Burr (80 percent-7 percent) while Democrats are in support of Marshall (64 percent-17 percent). Unaffiliated voters, however, are mirroring the statewide trend toward Republican candidates as they would vote for Burr by a 44 percent-31 percent margin.

“Burr continues to maintain a solid lead over Marshall despite the recent TV ads attacking his record,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “With Marshall having very little cross-over appeal to Republicans, her standing with the unaffiliated voter will play a key role come Election Day.”

Though serving as the current North Carolina Secretary of State, Marshall is relatively unknown as 62 percent of voters said they have no opinion or are unaware of her candidacy. Meanwhile, Burr appears to be benefitting from name identification as an incumbent. Twenty-nine percent of voters said they have no opinion of him, while nine percent said they are not aware of his candidacy.

“The unique feature of this race is both candidates’ relatively low name identification. Despite Burr being a US Senator and Marshall having been elected statewide multiple times, many voters are still unaware of either candidate,” added Hayes.

The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more information on Civitas polling see

Full text of questions:

Richard Burr

Favorable – 34%

Unfavorable – 29%

No Opinion – 29%

Elaine Marshall

Favorable – 24%
Unfavorable – 14%

No Opinion – 31%

If the election for United States Senate were held today, would you be voting for Republican Richard Burr, Democrat Elaine Marshall, or Libertarian Mike Beitler? If not sure/refused… are you leaning toward: Republican Richard Burr, Democrat Elaine Marshall or Libertarian Mike Beitler?

Burr – 32%

Lean Burr – 12%


Lean Marshall – 10%

Marshall – 28%


Beitler – 1%

Lean Beitler – 2%

Not Sure – 15%

Click here for full results and crosstabs.

This poll of 600 likely general election voters in North Carolina was conducted July 19-21, 2010 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.


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Elaine Marshall

She has more than just a name identification problem. She has a credentials problem. Burr has done a decent job, and continues to have the support of many.