Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd is polling slightly ahead of Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, according to a new Civitas poll of general election voters.

Budd, now serving as a congressman from the state’s 13th Congressional District, polled at 44%. That number just edges out the 42% support for Beasley, a former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray secured 2% support and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh 1%, with 12% of the electorate remaining undecided.

“North Carolina is a perennial battleground state for presidential and Senate races, and this year will be no different, looking at this poll,” said John Locke Foundation president Donald Bryson. “While Ted Budd is in a strong position in this poll, he still trails Republicans on the generic ballot test by a few points, and it’s a long contentious journey to November.”

“This is as close to a statistical tie as you can find,” said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University. The Civitas poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.95%. “There are not a lot of undecided voters left, but when they matter, they matter a lot.”

The polling results also showed Republican candidates for state Supreme Court seats edging out their opponents. Republican Trey Allen bested Democrat Sam Ervin 46% to 40% for one seat, while Republican Richard Dietz topped Democrat Lucy Inman 44% to 40% for the other.

Republicans continue to enjoy a comfortable advantage on a generic ballot for state and federal offices in North Carolina, the poll results showed. Forty-nine percent said they would vote for a Republican candidate for state legislature, compared to 43% for a Democratic candidate. For Congress, 50% would pick a Republican on a generic ballot and 43% a Democrat.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating dipped to a new low, according to the results of the poll, reaching 61% disapproval compared to 33% approval. Gov. Roy Cooper’s approval rating has also declined since April, with 46% of likely voters now disapproving of the governor compared to 42% who approve.

Seventy-three percent of voters say the U.S. is on the wrong track, compared to 22% who say right track.

On the issue of abortion, 40% of likely voters identify as pro-life and 43% as pro-choice. Fifty-one percent do not want the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, while 34% would like to see it overturned. 

Meanwhile, nearly 70% of likely voters said that abortion should be limited in some way — ranging from restrictions on a minor’s access to abortion all the way to a complete ban — and only 23% said abortion should be legal without any restrictions.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents would support a Parents’ Bill of Rights in North Carolina. Twenty-four percent were opposed to the idea. Forty-six percent have an unfavorable view of Critical Race Theory and 30% have a favorable view.

Asked for their perspective on gun restrictions, 42% reported that gun laws should be more restricted than they currently are, 34% that the laws should be left as they currently are, and 19% said they should be less restrictive.

The poll was conducted May 21-22 — prior to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — and surveyed 600 likely general election voters.