KENANSVILLE, NC (WECT) - The population of Kenansville quadrupled on Tuesday, when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump brought his campaign to the Duplin County Events Center.
"We've been touring the state all day," Trump said on stage minutes after arriving from an earlier event in High Point. "I hear we're leading in the polls in North Carolina, and on Nov. 8 we're going to win this state and win back the White House."
Trump immediately attacked what he called a "very failed and very corrupt" establishment and said he would replace it with a new government that would better serve the American people. He lashed out at his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as a part of that establishment.
Trump went on to claim that Clinton is the "chief emissary" for global special interests moving jobs and wealth from the middle class in the United States to other parts of the world, including Mexico.
"I'm not running to be president of the world. I'm running to be president of the United States," Trump said as the crowd erupted into chants of "USA!"
Trump's address resonated first-time voters like Shanequa Farrior of Rose Hill, who will turn 18 years old before Election Day.
"I'm having a hard time figuring out who to vote for since it's my first year voting," she said. "It kind of helped a little bit because it's less 'he said, she said', I was here to hear him say it."
Supporters voiced a sense of pride that a nominee for President of the United States would campaign in a community with less than one thousand people.
"It shows that he's looking at everybody, not just the big cities and big wigs, but everybody in the country, and in a place like this is where you find that, you find the core and the heart of America in places like this," said Trump supporter Robert Roccisano.
This was Trump's second campaign stop in southeastern North Carolina, following an appearance in front of a sellout crowd at UNC Wilmington's Trask Coliseum on Aug. 9. Trump's running mate Mike Pence followed with a rally on Aug. 24, speaking at Manufacturing Methods in Leland after touring the State Port in Wilmington.
Trump's appearance comes on the same day a new Elon University Poll found the GOP nominee and Hillary Clinton in a virtual tied among likely voters. Trump has a 44-43 advantage on the Democratic nominee, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson polling at 6 percent support. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.86 points.
Other breakdowns in the new poll show Clinton with a large lead among black voters, with 98 percent support compared to just two percent for Trump when the two are measured head-to-head. During Tuesday's address, Trump pledged to help African-American communities and take steps to help turn them around.
"We're going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they've ever been in before," Trump told the crowd. "You take a look at the inner cities; you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street -- they're worse, I mean, honestly places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities."
Among White voters surveyed in the Elon University poll, Trump garnered 65 percent of the vote compared to Clinton's 35 percent.
"Republican strategists have long known that they need to tighten the racial gaps between the parties," Jason Husser, assistant professor of political science at Elon and director of the Elon University Poll said in a news release accompanying the poll results. "However, we don't see that happening with African-American voters in North Carolina. Just 2 percent of likely black voters we talked to plan to vote for Donald Trump."
Trump is attracting more male voters, with 55 percent of men picking Trump, and Clinton maintains an edge with women voters, who prefer her to Trump by a 53-47 margin.
To see more of the poll results click here: http://bit.ly/2ck5waV