The Bottom Line

Pat McCrory has a significant lead over both Mark Walker and Ted Budd in a three-way race, and jumps to an even bigger lead in two-way ballot match-ups against each. McCrory is well-positioned to be the next Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.

Key Findings

  1. McCrory starts out the campaign with a very strong image. Meanwhile, both Walker and Budd will have to raise significant money to increase their name ID to get in the game.

    McCrory has 89% name ID, with 58% favorable and 13% unfavorable. Walker has 32% name ID, with 20% favorable and 4% unfavorable, while Budd is similar at 32% ID/16% favorable/5% unfavorable.

    The former Governor’s image is even stronger among crucial groups in a GOP primary. With base GOPers, his image is 63% favorable/10% unfavorable and with core primary voters (base GOP and very conservative), McCrory has a 66% favorable/10% unfavorable image.

  2. McCrory’s lead in a three-way race is higher than the number of undecideds.

    McCrory leads 48% to 13% over Walker, with 9% for Budd. The remaining voters are undecided.

    McCrory is over 55% of the vote in both the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham media markets, forcing Walker and Budd to spend copious amounts of money to increase their vote share in the DMAs that make up the majority of the electorate.

    The leader in the race also hits 52% of the vote among the 48% of the electorate who are core primary voters (base GOP and very conservative).

  3. The two-way ballots have McCrory at or above 50%.

    McCrory leads 55%-13% over Budd and 50%-17% against Walker. Again, his lead expands with the most important part of the primary electorate: core primary voters. McCrory leads 54%-18% among those voters against Walker and 62%-12% against Budd.

  4. There is a clear messaging advantage for McCrory against Washington insiders.

    We asked respondents:

    “Continuing to think about the 2022 Republican primary elections. . .Do you prefer someone who has never served in Congress or someone who has years of congressional experience in Washington DC as your next Senator.”

    GOP primary voters opt for someone who has never served in Congress by 67%-33% over someone who has years of congressional experience.



Public Opinion Strategies conducted 500 interviews via IVR among likely Republican primary voters statewide in North Carolina. The survey was completed April 6-8, 2021, and has a margin of error of +4.38% in 95 out of 100 cases.