Despite facing a barrage of criticism from Democrats and the media, Republican candidate for superintendent of public instruction Michelle Morrow is holding her own in a poll of registered North Carolina voters.

Green’s lead is within the margin of error at 3% ahead of Morrow — 43% to 40% — with 16% of voters undecided, according to the poll from Carolina Partnership for Reform.

That percentage of undecideds “means the candidates have some room to potentially push voters to one side or the other,” said Dr. Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history at Catawba College in Salisbury. “But the likelihood is that partisan affiliation will be the dominant determinate in how voters casts their ballots, with the ‘swing’ factor likely down to 3 percent or less when we get to actual voting.”

Morrow is a political newcomer who upset sitting superintendent of public instruction Catherine Truitt in the GOP primary in March. She ran unsuccessfully for the Wake County School Board in 2022, but has remained a grassroots activist on the state of education in North Carolina.

Green, on the other hand, is the former superintendent of Guilford County Schools and is an outgoing executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a far left non-profit. Reynolds is among the largest funders of left-wing groups in the state, including those that have advocated against the expansion of school-choice options like Opportunity Scholarships.

“For the most part, with lower-level ballot offices that don’t get much public and voter awareness, other than the name of the office and what candidates do to break through the noise of the top ticket contests, we’ll have to watch where the pool of undecideds tend to drift towards,” Bitzer said.

Other notable results from the poll included a finding that Democrat Josh Stein leads Republican Mark Robinson 44% to 37%, with 12% undecided, in the race for NC governor. The poll noted that “improving his standing among soft Republicans and white women will be key to Robinson making up ballot ground in the race.”

“Both the governor’s race and the superintendent’s races will be strongly influenced by the Biden-Trump race, although I could see some ticket-splitting where Trump wins NC again and Stein beats Robinson and Green defeats Murrow,” said Dr. David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College in Raleigh.

President Joe Biden trails former president Donald Trump, 35% to 40%, in the presidential race. Third-party candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. snags 11% of the vote, and 9% are undecided.

In the race for NC attorney general, Democrat Jeff Jackson is up 43% to Republican Dan Bishop’s 41%, with 15% undecided.

On the generic ballot for legislative seats, Republicans are ahead 48% to Democrats’ 42%.

Asked if the US is headed in the right or wrong direction, 72% said wrong track and just 24% said right track, a record low in the last decade of polling by Carolina Partnership for Reform. Sixty-five percent believe North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction, with 26% saying right track.

The poll was in the field April 25-28 and queried 500 registered voters. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38%.