North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is trailing her two leading Republican opponents by as much as 7 percentage points, says a poll published Monday by Rasmussen Reports.
Likely voters surveyed show that Thom Tillis, Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives, has gained the biggest lead over Hagan, 47 percent to 40 percent.
Tea party activist Greg Brannon is ahead of Hagan by 4 points, 43 percent to 39 percent.
Hagan, a red-state Democrat, garnered 53 percent of the vote when she was first elected to the Senate in 2008, but her popularity has sharply waned at home because of her support of the Affordable Care Act.
Just 38 percent of North Carolina voters like Obamacare, while 56 percent are against it, according to the phone survey of 500 voters conducted Jan. 22-23. Republicans will hold a May 6 primary to choose their Senate nominee.
Forty-nine percent of voters in the Tar Heel State approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while another 49 percent disapprove, a slightly higher rating than the national average. Hagan did not appear with the president during his visit to the state earlier this month.
She cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, and that has been costly
to the last Democrat holding an elected seat in North Carolina.
Her race is considered one of the crucial seats to keep the Senate under Democratic control.
Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats are up this November. Democrats currently have a 53-to-45 majority over Republicans. In addition, two independent senators, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Angus King of Maine, caucus with Democrats. And the vice president, Joe Biden, casts the deciding vote whenever the Senate deadlocks 50-50.
Thus Republicans, at a 55-45 disadvantage, need a net gain of six seats in 2014 to take control of the Senate. The last time there was a swing that large came in 2008, when Democrats scored a net gain of eight seats.
Gaining six seats may sound like a tall order. But for the party in power six years into a presidency, the average net loss in the Senate since 1914 is six seats, according to a Yale University analysis.
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