A new poll shows the North Carolina governor's race is much closer than expected with Republican Pat McCrory holding a 6-point edge against Democratic rival Walter Dalton.
The survey released Tuesday is the first of the general election and shows Dalton moving closer to erase a double-digit deficit from two months ago.
McCrory gets 46 percent support compared to 40 percent for Dalton, according to a survey of 666 voters by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm. About 13 percent of voters remain undecided, according to the poll conducted days after the May 8 primary.
In early March, McCrory boasted a 46 percent to 35 percent lead on Dalton, who was in the middle of a primary contest against former Congressman Bob Etheridge, according to PPP.
The race is expected to remain close. A generic Republican-Democratic matchup earlier this year gave Republicans a 46 percent to 42 percent advantage.
McCrory's numbers are boosted by his strong favorability, 41 percent to 28 percent unfavorable. Dalton's numbers are level with 28 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable. In both cases, large undecided pools will give the campaigns plenty of room to work.
Inside the numbers: McCrory gets 17 percent support from respondents who labeled themselves "very liberal" compared to Dalton who gets 7 percent of the "very conservative" category. Likewise, McCrory gets 18 percent of the Democratic vote.
The big number: McCrory wins independents 52 percent to 29 percent.
Men favor McCrory and women are evenly split. A strong race gap is visible with white voters in McCrory's camp (56 percent to 33 percent) and black voters picking Dalton (66 percent to 15 percent).
By geography, McCrory leads solidly in the middle section of the state from Greensboro to Charlotte with Dalton winning the Triangle and Wilmington regions.
(One note: The poll doesn't include Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe, who can be expected to receive 2 percent of the vote.)
The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.8 percentage points. Click here for the full results.