Tags: Polls | Kay Hagan | Thom Tillis | North Carolina

Hagan, Tillis Still Tied in North Carolina Senate Race

Hagan, Tillis Still Tied in North Carolina Senate Race
Sen. Kay Hagan, D- N.C., left, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images; Jeff Siner/MCT/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:06 AM

A second weekend poll has ranked North Carolina's hotly contested Senate race into a dead heat, with incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tillis each netting 44 percent in a High Point University survey released on Monday.

The HPU Poll comes on the heels of an NBC News/Marist Poll that also found the two candidates are in a tie race, and a Real Clear Politics overview of the race gives Hagan a very narrow advantage of being just one percentage point in the lead after two polls released earlier this month gave her advantages of three percentage points each.

"We have been saying for a while that this Senate race would come down to the wire," said Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and the director of the HPU Poll. "These findings — taken together with the other recent polls — suggest the race remains extremely close. We see a relatively large fraction of people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction as well as low approval ratings of Congress, the president and the two candidates. This indicates an electoral environment that has made it more difficult for either candidate to open up a wide lead."

Libertarian candidate Sean Hough is siphoning off some of the votes from Hagan and Tillis, with the HPU Poll showing him netting five percent of the respondents.

The HPU Poll, which surveyed 862 registered voters and carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, revealed that both candidates have negative job approval ratings heading into next week's election.

Hagan's rating is at 42 percent, with her disapproval rating at 52 percent. Tillis' ratings are 37 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. In comparison, the poll found that 41 percent approve of President Barack Obama's job performance and 55 percent disapproving.

But while the race will likely run neck-and-neck, North Carolina's rules concerning runoff elections apply only to primary races, not general elections, according to fairvote.org. The state calls for a 40 percent threshold to be reached in primary elections, but not during the general election, the site reports.

Meanwhile, The Charlotte Observer, one of the state's major newspaper, was iffy Sunday when it came to picking a candidate. It eventually endorsed Hagan, but the endorsement seemed as if it was made reluctantly, reports The Washington Post.

Among the comments in the endorsement, The Observer called Hagan a "disappointment" who "has done about the minimum you'd expect from a U.S. senator, with few if any notable legislative achievements."

Further, the paper said she has a "chronic reluctance" to take a stand on issues, and fails to recognize that the state "deserves a senator who is not perpetually fearful of upsetting half of the state's voting population."

Nonetheless, the Observer recommended "voters give her another chance to show she is up to it."

But the newspaper was even more critical of Tillis, saying he's "shepherded" laws and policies bad for residents, cut off long-term employment benefits, "proudly" rejected a federal Medicaid expansion, and "irresponsibly" pushed through tax cuts to benefit corporations and the wealthy.

And in the end, the newspaper sounded as divided on Hagan and Tillis as voters in the polls, saying voters "should send Hagan back to Washington and hope for something better."

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A second weekend poll has ranked North Carolina's hotly contested Senate race into a dead heat, with incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tillis each netting 44 percent in a High Point University survey released on Monday.
Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis, North Carolina
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2014-06-28
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:06 AM
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