Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies (POS) is the official pollster for the Tillis campaign. Yesterday, he released an internal poll which showed the two candidates tied with 43% each and Haugh taking 8% of the vote (the YouGov poll from Sunday showed Haugh taking only 5%).

Why release an internal showing your candidate tied when other public polls show the same result or better for Tillis? Most likely, it’s a fundraising appeal. Note the bottom of the memo, which says that Tillis is in a good position if he has the money to fight back against Democratic attacks.

What’s most interesting about the poll is the demographic sample:

“Respondents in the Tillis poll were 72 percent white, 21 percent African-American and 7 percent “other minorities,” and 32 percent Republican and 41 percent Democrat. By comparison, in 2012 exit polls, voters were 70 percent white and 23 percent African-American and 33 percent Republican and 39 percent Democrat.”

This is pretty much a “worst case scenario” turnout model for the Republicans. And yet, the poll finds that Tillis is still in a good position to win. If the electorate looks more like 2010 than 2012, and should Haugh continue to lose support to the Republican, then Speaker Tillis will be in a strong position to win.

Hagan’s path to victory: eviscerate Tillis and hope that Obama doesn’t get more unpopular between now and the election. Right now, the Hagan people are focusing heavily on Tillis’s “mansplaining” in the last debate, in the hopes of ginning up support with women. That probably won’t be enough. And if there’s a Republican wave like some respected pundits are now predicting, Hagan’s path to victory is closed.

The good news for Hagan? Her own camp released an internal poll showing her up by 3 points (the latest PPP poll paints a somewhat rosier picture for the incumbent, giving her a lead of 4 points). And an analysis of the YouGov poll reveals that undecideds might be disproportionately Democratic-leaning. They are certainly disproportionately female and African American. And Democrats are doing much better compared to 2010 when it comes to absentee balloting. In particular, African Americans appear to be more energized than four years ago. But some caveats: 2010 was a disastrous year for Democrats in North Carolina. We should expect a large increase in Democratic engagement from that year. And it’s only one day, the first day of absentee ballots being available. We’ll continue to monitor trends from absentee and early balloting in order to get an idea of whether this is going to be a Republican year or not.


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