Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, has a fairly solid record, and they’re constantly polling in North Carolina, their home base. So it has to give Sen. Kay Hagan, D, a bit of heartburn that they’re finding her slightly underwater on job approval, and around 45 percent in ballot tests, just squeaking by against candidates ranging from “barely known statewide” to “some dude.”
To illustrate the point, I’ve inserted their poll’s approval/disapproval numbers in parentheses next to the potential GOP candidates’ names:
Voters continue to be closely divided in their feelings about Kay Hagan- 41% approve of her to 42% who disapprove…The potential foes who come closest to Hagan are Greg Brannon (7/17) and Phil Berger (13/25) who each trail by 4 points at 44/40. They are followed by Thom Tillis (15/24) who trails 45/40, Renee Ellmers (14/23) and Virginia Foxx (23/27) who are each down 46/39, Jim Cain (10/20) who has a 46/38 deficit, and Mark Harris and Lynn Wheeler who are down 9 points each at 46/37 and 45/36 respectively.
So far, Tillis (the state House Speaker) and Brannon (a doctor) are the only candidates actually in the race. Renee Elmers and Virginia Foxx are Republican members of Congress. The point here is that all of these candidates will become better-known over the course of a campaign. Unless Hagan can improve her image statewide, it might not take much for any of them to catch her.
North Carolina went for President Obama in 2008, and he came close in 2012, but the long-term trend in the state has been much more favorable to the GOP. Republicans took over the state legislature in 2010 for the first time since Reconstruction, and won the governor’s office in 2012 for the first time in 24 years. The Associated Press had a bit more on this race here yesterday.