The race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready for the 9th U.S. Congressional District is one to watch. Recent polls show a close, competitive race for the open seat between Harris, a pastor, and McCready, a veteran and businessman.
Jonathan Kappler, executive director of the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, said taking the district is critical for the Democratic Party to gain control of the House in November.
“It is difficult to see the Democrats retaking the House majority without winning this election,” Kappler said.
The Civitas Institute, a conservative public policy organization, released a poll Monday, Oct. 8 showing McCready leading Harris by 4 percent. The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4, surveyed 556 likely voters in the 9th District. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.7 percent.
McCready received support from 45 percent of respondents, while 41 percent chose Harris. Three percent of respondents said they would vote for Jeff Scott, the Libertarian candidate. Twelve percent are undecided.
Meantime, The New York Times/Siena College poll painted a different picture of the 9th District race. In the NYT/Siena College poll, Harris leads with 47 percent over McCready who was picked by 42 percent. Eleven percent were undecided. Scott was not included in this poll.
“Dan McCready has been running a well-funded campaign to appeal to moderate Democrats and Republicans,” Civitas President Donald Bryson said. “This strategy, along with the lack of an incumbent, has made this district much more competitive than anyone anticipated in the spring.”
Although Republicans have held the district for decades, the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight rate the district as a toss up. The district is an open seat after Harris defeated the incumbent, Rep. Robert Pittenger, in the May 2018 primary.
Kappler said McCready has a funding advantage over Harris after much of Harris’ fundraising was depleted battling Pittenger during the primary.
Kappler said McCready fits one of the molds the Democratic Party is pushing to help flip the House from red to blue. McCready is more business-oriented and a veteran, which may help him with the area around Fort Bragg.
The NYT/Siena College poll surveyed 502 people in the district between Oct. 1 to Oct. 5. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
“These results show that all of the momentum in the 9th District is all on the side of Mark Harris and the Harris campaign,” Andy Yates, general consultant and strategist for the Harris Campaign said in a news release.
The New York Times, however, cautioned from reading too much into one poll.
“Our poll is a decent result for Republicans. But remember: It’s just one poll, and we talked to only 502 people,” the Times said in its poll release. “Each candidate’s total could easily be five points different if we polled everyone in the district. And having a small sample is only one possible source of error.”