PPP just released its newest poll for the North Carolina Senate race. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Republican field

Cherie Berry – 18%
Virginia Foxx – 16%
Renee Ellmers – 10%
Patrick McHenry – 10%
Phil Berger – 7%
Greg Brannon – 5%
George Holding – 3%
Thom Tillis – 3%
Terry Embler – 1%

General election

Hagan 46% Berry 38%
Hagan 48% Brannon 35%
Hagan 47% Ellmers 38%
Hagan 48% Embler 33%
Hagan 48% Foxx 38%
Hagan 46% Holding 36%
Hagan 45% McHenry 40%
Hagan 46% Tillis 38%
Hagan 49% Berger 38%

Favorable/Unfavorable (among general election voters)
Berry 31/19 (+12)
Hagan 39/38 (+1)
McHenry 18/24 (-6)
Ellmers 16/25 (-9)
Foxx 20/29 (-9)
Embler 7/18 (-11)
Tillis 14/25 (-11)
Holding 9/22 (-13)
Brannon 5/19 (-14)
Berger 9/29 (-20)

Favorable/Unfavorable (among Republican primary voters)
Berry 32/19 (+13)
McHenry 23/15 (+8)
Foxx 27/21 (+6)
Ellmers 20/17 (+3)
Tillis 15/17 (-2)
Holding 10/16 (-6)
Embler 4/15 (-11)
Brannon 4/16 (-12)
Berger 11/24 (-13)

-The poll is good news for Cherie Berry, Virginia Foxx, Renee Ellmers, and Patrick McHenry. Berry leads the the Republican field and Foxx is the runner-up. Ellmers and McHenry are tied at 10%, and McHenry comes closest to Hagan in the general election matchups. To a lesser extent it’s also good news for Kay Hagan. Though a 39/38 approval rating isn’t strong by any means, at least it’s rightside up.

-All the Republican candidates, except for Berry, have favorability ratings in the red. This could be a reflection of the Republican brand being in the toilet right now. If you’re a Democrat and an optimist, then it could be a sign that none of the candidates are very strong.

-Berger’s favorable/unfavorable ratio is particularly bad at -20. While Berger’s moves to the right might help him in a Republican primary, they could be hurting him in a general. I would be particularly interested in seeing the effect on Berger’s numbers with Virginia Foxx out of the picture.

-Republican primary voters have a positive opinion of McHenry, Foxx, and Ellmers. With the exception of Holding, NC Republicans like all their congressmen. What’s wrong with Holding? My guess is that he’s new to the political arena and some respondents just reflexively have negative views of people they’ve never heard of. It would certainly explain the negative ratings for Brannon and Embler, and probably speaks to a lot of cynicism people have toward politicians in general.

-This is yet another example of people lying to pollsters about their knowledge. There’s no way that 25% of North Carolinians know who Terry Embler is.

-Subsample margin of error caveats apply. In a little while we’ll take a look at the trends so far in the polling (and why even that should be subject to skepticism).

-While this is interesting to look at and analyze, none of the poll numbers really mean anything this far out. A strong campaign can and will shake things up dramatically.

-This is a good poll for Congressman McHenry. Comes closest to Hagan, has +8 favorability among Republican primary voters. The only downside for him is his favorability with general election voters. The name recognition caveat applies.

-PPP concedes that Hagan’s modest leads can be attributed to name recognition, and the Republican candidate will become much more competitive once they become more well-known. Hagan is pretty much at the mercy of the national environment. If it’s a good year for Democrats, then she probably gets a second term. If 2014 is a bad year, however, she’s going to face an uphill climb.

-This is a poll of general election voters, not likely voters. At this time, it really wouldn’t make sense to run a likely voter poll. Still, it is almost certain that the electorate will be whiter and more Republican than in 2012. This is what gives Republican strategists optimism in a state that Romney carried by 2 points.

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: johncwynne@gmail.com.

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