PPP’s latest poll of the 2014 North Carolina Senate race finds Kay Hagan leading all of her potential Republican challengers by margins ranging from 5 to 13 points. Hagan’s approval rating hasn’t changed much; last month it was 42/39, now it’s 39/37.
These approval numbers lend credence to the idea that Hagan is undefined and at the mercy of the national environment.
Undecided – 32%
Berry – 18%
Foxx – 13%
Ellmers – 12%
Berger – 11%
Tillis – 7%
Brannon – 6%
Embler – 1%
Hagan 46% Berry 41%
Hagan 48% Ellmers 40%
Hagan 48% Foxx 39%
Hagan 48% Berger 39%
Hagan 49% Tillis 39%
Hagan 47% Embler 37%
Hagan 49% Brannon 36%
Favorable/Unfavorable (general election voters)
Berry 32/18 (+14)
Hagan 39/37 (+2)
Foxx 23/27 (-4)
Embler 10/15 (-5)
Ellmers 20/26 (-6)
Brannon 10/18 (-8)
Tillis 17/28 (-11)
Berger 10/33 (-23)
Favorable/Unfavorable (among Republican primary voters)
Berry 33/21 (+12)
Foxx 28/20 (+8)
Ellmers 25/18 (+7)
Tillis 21/19 (+2)
Embler 7/15 (-8)
Brannon 8/17 (-9)
Berger 13/25 (-12)
-Right now, Berry would make the strongest candidate in the general election. Most of this is due to name recognition and her role as the “Elevator Queen”. But does she have the financial acumen to make the race? Perhaps more importantly, could her positive image fade once people start to do more research into her candidacy?
-Ellmers does next best to Hagan, losing by 8. But for a number of reasons, I no longer think Ellmers will be running. Her last financial quarter was tellingly lackluster. Does she really want to give up a safe House seat to pursue a Senate bid that is not at all a sure thing?
-Virginia Foxx loses to Hagan by 9. Right now I actually think she’s a more likely candidate to get into the race, even though she’s made no statements that have indicated interest. She didn’t have a good fundraising quarter either, but she has about $1.5 million cash on hand to use for a Senate race.
-Of all the ‘serious’ candidates, Tillis and Berger do the worst (Tillis actually does worse than Berger, despite having a higher favorability among general election voters). There’s no need to explain why: the General Assembly is very unpopular (at this point, I would use the term ‘toxic’.) This could change though, especially if Republicans get very aggressive at defending their tenure. I imagine we’re at the trough of NCGA popularity. As the two chambers start to take on less controversial bills, we’re likely to see their approvals rise slightly.
-Who says the GOP doesn’t like women? Republican primary voters like Berry, Foxx, and Ellmers the most.
-In a bit of good news for Thom Tillis, he registers a positive approval rating among Republican primary voters.
-More good news for Tillis – he’s increased his support by 250% in a Republican primary. Last month he only received the support of 2% of Republicans, now it’s up to 7%. It could be because of Dan Forest no longer being included as an option. But more likely, it’s his new TV ad.
-Berger is in a world of his own in terms of unpopularity. Even a fourth of Republicans have an unfavorable view of him. Those numbers should be very worrying for someone about to launch a statewide bid.
-About a fourth of primary election voters and general elections say they don’t like Greg Brannon. They’re either liars who are pretending to know who he is, or maybe Dr. Brannon rubs people the wrong way.
-PPP once again failed to poll Jim Cain, the unpollable candidate.
-Right now this is just an analysis for entertainment purposes. Most of the odds and ends don’t really matter. The important stuff: Hagan is unknown and undefined, has mediocre approval ratings, but leads her Republican contenders thanks to low name recognition on their part. It should also be clear now that Republicans don’t have a superstar candidate in the making – all the polled candidates have their own flaws, which they will have to surmount in order to end Kay Hagan’s tenure in Washington.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.