Donald Trump carries a 14-point lead over Hillary Clinton among North Carolina's independent voter population but still trails the former secretary of state by 2 percentage points overall, a new Monmouth University shows.
Clinton leads Trump 44 to 42 percent among North Carolinians who are likely to vote in the November election, while 7 percent of voters back Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and 6 percent remain undecided.
While the GOP presidential nominee lags far behind Clinton among black, Hispanic and Asian voters (76 to 13 percent), he draws 44 percent support among independents to Clinton's 30 percent. Trump also bests Clinton among white voters — 54 to 31 percent — although his current lead is significantly smaller than the 37-point advantage Mitt Romney had in 2012.
With the exception of 2008, North Carolina has voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in 1980.
Both candidates continue to struggle with their overall popularity: only 34 percent of voters have a positive view of Trump, while 36 percent view Clinton favorably. At the same time, fewer than 45 percent of voters say Clinton or Trump would do a good job "looking out for the little guy" as president.
In the Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr and former Democratic state legislator Deborah Ross, Burr holds a slim 2-point lead — 45 to 43 percent. However, the two-term senator has a 15-point edge among independents and draws 94 percent support among members of his own party.
Burr has a net-positive job approval rating and is viewed favorably by 32 percent of voters in his home state. Seventy-one percent of voters said they were too unfamiliar with Ross to have an opinion of her.
The Monmouth University poll of 401 likely voters in North Carolina was conducted between Aug. 20 -23. Results contain a margin of error plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.