Along the lines of our New Hampshire compendium of polls, there's so much new North Carolina material out today that we're just going to give it to you in condensed form. What are the takeaways? The governor's race is still too close to call but may be shading toward Perdue, while on the Senate side, it's time for the Republicans to start practicing saying "Senator Godless."
Research 2000 for Daily Kos:
Hagan 50 (49), Dole 45 (45)
Perdue 49 (48), McCrory 44 (43)
Kay Hagan (D): 52 (49)
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 46 (44)
Rasmussen looks very good for Kay Hagan in the North Carolina senate race: six is the biggest lead she's had in a Rasmussen poll, and there aren't enough undecideds left for Dole to close the gap. Hagan's favorables continue to climb (53-42) while Dole's slide (46-50). The sample was taken yesterday, so it's unclear whether the flap over the 'godless' ad had an effect one way or the other.
Kay Hagan (D): 42
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 46
Mason-Dixon also gives Dole 46, but that's where the similarity stops. They say Hagan trails by 4, with lots of undecideds still on the table. Note the dates on this poll... this is part of the same plate of stale cookies as that Georgia poll that Mason-Dixon apparently sat on for a week. Oddly, despite Mason-Dixon's focus on the south, this is their first poll of this race, and it's the first poll by anyone in almost a month to give the edge to Dole.
UPDATE: One more North Carolina poll to throw on the heap, this time from National Journal. This one seems to confirm Rasmussen, right down to the 6-point spread.
Kay Hagan (D): 48 (49)
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 45 (42)
Christopher Cole (L): 4 (4)
This week's PPP poll of the North Carolina senate race shows Kay Hagan dropping from a 7-point lead to a 3-point lead. Considering that Hagan led by only 2 points two weeks ago, last week's lead was probably on the optimistic side, rather than this drop being suggestive of a major trend. Still, it's an indicator that this race can't be taken for granted and needs to be fought to the end.
The presidential race also sees slightly tighter numbers this week, with Obama up over McCain 49-48. Governor's race numbers will be out tomorrow.
PPP (10/18-19, likely voters, 10/11-12 in parentheses):
Kay Hagan (D): 49 (46)
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 42 (44)
Usually you don't see public pollsters use phrases like "annihilating" in their poll write-ups, but PPP just went there ("Hagan is annihilating Dole among suburban voters, 56-38."). It's hard to tell if last week's sample was a statistical blip or not (Hagan led +9 and +8 in the two weeks before); the fact that her lead among African-Americans dipped to 78-12 last week (and is now back up to 84-7) suggests that it probably was.
I'm glad to see PPP so relentlessly polling their home state (especially with such gigantic sample sizes), as North Carolina is probably the hottest state in this election, with not just NC-Sen but also the close governor's race and presidential swing state status. At the top of the ticket, Obama leads McCain 51-44 (with McCain now leading among white voters by only 55-39). Governor's race numbers will come out tomorrow.
Two new polls give more bad news for Bev Perdue, who seems to be slipping in her quest to hold the open North Carolina gubernatorial seat for the Dems. Rasmussen shows a big reversal from mid-August, when Perdue seemed to be at her peak. Elon University also shows Perdue losing a little ground from several weeks ago.
Kay Hagan (D): 37 (35)
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 35 (35)
On the plus side, the same Elon University poll sees Kay Hagan gaining ground in the Senate race. (Bear in mind that the Elon poll is rife with methodological problems: it's a sample only of residents, and respondents are only asked for each race whether they're supporting the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. Nevertheless, their margins seem generally in line with numbers we're seeing elsewhere, with the presidential race in NC tied at 39-39.)
Rasmussen (9/23, likely voters, 9/18 in parentheses)
Kay Hagan (D): 48 (51)
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 45 (45)
I try not to single out particular pollsters for ridicule, but Rasmussen has had one mixed-up crazy week. Nevertheless, their newest poll of the North Carolina Senate race is very much in line with their poll last week of the same race, and other pollsters as well: Hagan is showing a small but sustained lead. Somewhat miraculously, both candidates have favorable ratings over 50%: Dole at 52% and Hagan at 51%.
This is the same sample that gave Obama a 49-47 lead. Obama's organizing and advertising push in North Carolina seems to be paying off not just for him (as NC is starting to move into undeniable swing-state territory) but downticket as well.
Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer and fellow Republican strategist Mark Stephens plan to seek new ventures after the November election, Fetzer said Tuesday.
"We don't want to do campaigns anymore," said Fetzer. "We're old men, and this is a young man's game."
Both men are 53 years old. Fetzer and Stephens are both veterans of a host of Republican campaigns in North Carolina and are currently consultants to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's re-election effort. Fetzer served three terms as Raleigh's mayor in the 1990s.
Stephens was executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which helps orchestrate Republican senate races across the country, during the 2005-2006 election cycle, when Dole was the committee's chairwoman. Republicans lost their majority in the Senate in 2006.
After helping Liddy Dole fritter away the GOP's Senate majority two years ago and seeing Liddy's own numbers take a dive in recent weeks, I couldn't blame these gents for feeling a bit dispirited lately.
Kay Hagan (D): 35
Elizabeth Dole (R-inc): 35
Bev Perdue (D): 35
Pat McCrory (R): 37
First off, this is a strange poll, from a pollster I've never heard of before: a poll of North Carolina residents, with no regard to voting likelihood or registration, with a 4.9% MoE, and, judging by the very low numbers, little interest in pushing leaners. (UPDATE: Nor does the poll even give the names of candidates, only asking whether respondents are voting Democratic or Republican in each race!)
On the other hand, the numbers seem quite consistent with what we've seen recently: a tied race in the Senate, and a governor's race moving in the last month from a slight Dem lean to a slight GOP lean. McCain leads Obama 41-35, also plausible.
You read that right. The Senate Guru is going on strike for Kay Hagan! Currently, on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page, Hagan is at $50 raised. Well, the Guru will not write another post until Hagan has crossed the $300 mark. That's right! The Guru is on strike until the community contributes another $250 to Hagan.
Contributions to Hagan will be money very well spent. Hagan's primary victory last Tuesday gave her a great deal of momentum; and, the most recent poll actually sees her in a statistical dead heat with (actually, with a one point lead over) the contemptible Elizabeth Dole. Hagan is well-positioned to make the North Carolina Senate race a top tier battle. But she needs our help with raising the resources necessary to cut through Dole's spin.
We can help make this a top tier race. I feel strongly enough about that that I'm willing to go on strike until we reach the $300 mark for her on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. C'mon, whether it's ten wonderful people giving $25 each or one generous soul chipping in $250, I want to see the Senate Guru community step up to help Hagan and put Dole on notice.
Two well-placed sources, independent of each other, have contacted the Swing State Project to let us know that NC State Senator Kay Hagan (D-Greensboro) has reconsidered her earlier decision and will challenge Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Blue NC had picked up earlier rumors that Hagan might be back in from a local Democratic strategist:
Even before Jim Neal outed himself, Kay Hagan was looking at getting back in the U.S. Senate race. Now she’s getting more encouragement – from home and from Washington. Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, had looked at running earlier. She pulled back because Senator Charles Schumer from New York, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was intent on recruiting Grier Martin. Martin eventually opted out.
Now Hagan is reconsidering. She’s being wooed by North Carolina Democrats – and by Schumer. The garrulous New Yorker’s first task was to eat crow with Hagan.
Public Policy Polling recently pegged Dole's approval at 44% with 41% disapproval. If our sources are correct, these numbers certainly suggest Hagan would have something to work with.