With early voting set to begin on Thursday across North Carolina, new numbers from Public Policy Polling show incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan with a slim three-point lead over Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Meanwhile, Republicans have a narrow two-point advantage when it comes to a generic ballot for state legislative races – despite the GOP-led N.C. General Assembly still being widely unpopular among North Carolina voters.
The survey finds Hagan leading Tillis 46-43 percent, with Libertarian Sean Haugh garnering 5 percent of support. Haugh appears to be siphoning slightly more votes from Tillis than Hagan at this point, as 5 percent of Republicans say they will vote for the Libertarian, compared to 2 percent of Democrats who say the same.
“It’s still a close race but Hagan’s lead – though small – has certainly been persistent and something dramatic may need to happen in the final two weeks to allow Tillis to come out on top,” pollster Tom Jensen writes in his analysis of the survey results.
Just 25 percent of voters approve of the job done by the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly, but the GOP nevertheless holds a 46-44 percent edge over Democrats in a generic legislative ballot.
That may be due in part to the fact that neither side of the General Assembly’s aisle is all that popular among voters, with legislative Republicans registering a net negative 5 percent rating, while legislative Democrats suffer from a net negative 10 percent rating.
And although he is not on the ballot in November, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has seen his approval rating rebound somewhat from earlier in the year. The latest survey from PPP finds McCrory with a net negative 3 percent rating, which is better than Hagan’s and Tillis’ net negative ratings of 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Interestingly, Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate and up for re-election in 2016, is still largely unknown to many North Carolina voters. According to the poll, a plurality of voters – 38 percent – have no opinion of Burr’s job performance.
Voters should do their homework before heading to the polls
Poll: Majority of N.C. voters feel qualified to hold public office