Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by five percentage points for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, according to a new poll by the New York Times and Sienna College.
Harris was favored by 47 percent respondents while McCready was favored by 42 percent. Eleven percent of voters are undecided in the race for the seat, which stretches from Republican areas in south Charlotte and Union County to Fayetteville.
The seat is considered one of the Democrats' best opportunities to flip a seat held by the GOP. Harris narrowly defeated Robert Pittenger in the May primary.
Sienna College called more than 21,000 residents of the 9th District on cell phones and landlines. About 500 people responded to the poll, which has a margin of error of about 5 percentage points for both candidates.
The survey is part of a series of "live polls" the Times and Sienna College are conducting of swing congressional districts before the Nov. 6 election.
As the polls are being conducted, people can watch online as people respond or don't respond. The Times is also showing the geographic location of each McCready and Harris supporter, and the poll gives detailed information on who responded by age, race and gender.
This is the first public poll of the race since July when Survey USA showed McCready ahead by seven percentage points.
Don Levy, the director of Sienna College’s Research Institute, said he's surprised people have watched online as polls are conducted.
“The live polling is what it has provided, it seems to be this unquenchable thirst for immediate information and to see the score in a race in the same that we would track a basketball game," he said.
The Times and Sienna College are currently polling another competitive race in North Carolina, the 13th District, which stretches from Greensboro to Salisbury to Mooresville.
In that race, Republican Ted Budd, the incumbent, has 47 percent of the vote to Democrat Kathy Manning's 41 percent, as of Saturday morning.
Those numbers are based on respondents of 297 people, and Sienna College will continue polling the race until it gets 500 people who respond.