Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis beats President Joe Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup for president 44% to 41%, according to a new Civitas poll of likely generation election voters in North Carolina.

Asked the same question but with former president Donald Trump as the GOP nominee, voters picked Biden over Trump 45% to 43%. The differences in both results are within the poll’s margin of error.

The results are an early test of the political winds as the 2024 presidential nomination race heats up. Only two candidates on the Republican side have officially announced — Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose name was not included in the Civitas poll due to an error.

Former vice president Mike Pence polled at 39% to Biden’s 41%. Pence is weighing a bid for the nomination but hasn’t announced yet.

“Yet again, the race to the White House will flow through North Carolina,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “These results indicate that the presidential race in North Carolina could be close. While Ron DeSantis was the only Republican candidate, in this poll, to come out over President Biden, all three results were within the margin of error.”

The Civitas poll also surveyed voters’ political preferences at the state level in North Carolina. On that front, Republicans continue to enjoy an advantage on the generic ballot. 

Asked if they would support a GOP candidate or Democrat candidate for the General Assembly, 46% picked Republicans and 42% Democrats. The split narrowed slightly for governor, with 45% picking a Republican and 43% a Democrat. For Congress, 45% picked the GOP and 42% a Democrat.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s approval rating holds steady at 48% approving and 37% disapproving.

On election integrity issues, 59% said they believe the 2024 election in North Carolina will be “free and fair,” while 28% said it would not be. Support for voter ID was strong at 68%.

Nationally, 69% said the county is headed on the wrong track, compared to 22% who said wrong track. President Biden’s approval rating stands at 37%, compared to 56% who disapprove.

On environment issues, 54% said they believe the environment in the U.S. is less clean today than in 2005.

The poll queried voter attitudes on five state constitutional amendments:

  • “Would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment to provide that the right to live includes the right to work, and therefore the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership, or payment or non-payment, in any labor organization?” 54% support, 14% oppose, and 13% undecided.
  • “Would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment adding the Taxpayer Protection Act to the North Carolina Constitution that would limit the growth of State spending to inflation plus population growth, require yearly deposits in a Savings Reserve or Unfunded Liability Reserve, return excess revenue to taxpayers, and submit tax increases to a vote of the people?” 57% support, 11% oppose, and 9% unsure.
  • “Would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment to remove the literacy test requirement for voting from the North Carolina Constitution? The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits the implementation of this requirement.” 42% support, 28% oppose, and 12% unsure.
  • “Would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment to modify the North Carolina Constitution to clarify that only United States citizens may vote in North Carolina?” 71% support, 15% oppose, and 8% unsure.
  • “Would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment to prohibit condemnation of private property except for a public use and to provide for the payment of just compensation with right of trial by jury in all condemnation cases?? 43% support, 9% oppose, and 13% unsure.

The poll was conducted March 26-27 and surveyed 605 likely general election voters.