As the political environment starts to solidify post-Labor Day, the news is not good for Thom Tillis. Two more polls show him trailing Kay Hagan by significant margins. That’s five polls released in the last week that show Hagan breaking away.

The Elon University poll has Hagan leading 45-41 among likely voters. The poll also shows that the gender gap is holding. Women prefer Hagan by 19 points while Men choose Tillis by 12. In particular, single women prefer Hagan by 47 points.

American Insights, a relatively new polling firm with a self-proclaimed Republican bent, has Hagan up by 9, 43-34. This poll also detects a gender gap but it’s smaller. Women prefer Hagan by 13 points while men prefer Tillis by 4. Their “trend line” tracking recent polling acknowledges that the shift toward Hagan is real.

Last week, Rasmussen, Civitas and Hart Research all showed Hagan opening up leads between 3 and 6 percent. With these latest two polls, it’s clear that the electorate is moving toward re-electing Hagan. The environment could certainly change, but the GOP has pounded Hagan for almost a year now and they haven’t taken her out.

Maybe Hagan is peaking prematurely, but there are also signs that Democrats are better organized. In the very early absentee voting tally, Democrats have turned in more ballots than Republicans. It’s only 379 votes, but Democrats have sent in 46% of them. Absentee ballots at this time must be requested in writing and Republicans usually outnumber Democrats significantly.

Judging from the recent Civitas poll of unaffiliated voters and legislative polls across the state, voters are very angry at GOP overreach in the General Assembly. Democrats have done a good job of keeping the argument focused on education and Tillis’ tenure as speaker. Tillis, for his part, has spent time defending his record instead of touting it.

Going down the stretch, Democrats are controlling the message. They appear to be well-organized. And Tillis has failed to make the case for himself. Republicans need to change the dynamic if they hope to pick up the senate seat and hold off losses in the General Assembly.

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