10/5: North Carolina: Hagan Edges Tillis in Competitive U.S. Senate Race

In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is trying to fend off her Republican challenger and state legislator Thom Tillis in the race for U.S. Senate.  Among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot, Hagan receives 44% to 40% for Tillis.

There is a wide gender gap in the contest.  Hagan carries women by 19 points and Tillis outpaces her among men by 13 points.

Hagan’s supporters are more firmly committed to her, 59%, than are Tillis’ backers, 45%, the majority of whom are motivated to vote against Hagan rather than being positive about him.  Also of note, both candidates have high negative ratings among likely voters statewide.

North Carolina residents have a grim view of national politics.  Nearly half are displeased with the performance of President Barack Obama.  Congressional Republicans and Democrats are also viewed negatively by, at least, a majority of residents statewide.  Close to seven in ten North Carolina adults have a dismal view of the direction the nation is heading.

Complete October 5, 2014 NBC News/Marist Poll of North Carolina

“Gender and marital status are driving forces in this contest,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Not only are there big differences between men and women in their choice for the Senate, but Hagan has nearly a three-to-one advantage over Tillis among single women, and Tillis outdistances her by 23 points among married men.”

Poll points:

  • Hagan, 44%, and Tillis, 40%, are locked in a tight contest for U.S. Senate in North Carolina among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot.  Libertarian Sean Haugh receives 7% of the vote, and 9% are undecided.
  • A partisan divide exists among likely voters with 85% of Democrats supporting Hagan and 81% of Republicans backing Tillis.  Independents likely to vote divide with 40% for Tillis and 36% for Hagan.  Haugh garners 12% of independents who are likely to vote, and 12% are undecided.
  • The gender gap is wide.  49% of men likely to vote support Tillis compared with 36% for Hagan.  Among women, Hagan has 51% to 32% for Tillis.
  • 50% of likely voters with a candidate preference in North Carolina strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate.  38% somewhat back their selection, and 10% might vote differently.  Looking at each candidate’s intensity of support, nearly six in ten Hagan backers, 59%, are firmly committed to her.  45% of Tillis supporters report a similar level of commitment.
  • 50% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they support their pick for U.S. Senate because they are against the other candidates in the race while 45% made their selection because they feel positively about their choice.  While 57% of Hagan’s voters are inspired by their support for her, 58% of Tillis backers are motivated by their dislike for his opponents.
  • Among registered voters in North Carolina including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot, 42% support Hagan to 37% for Tillis and 8% for Haugh.  12% are undecided.
  • The campaign has taken its toll on voters’ impressions of both Hagan and Tillis.  48% of likely voters have a negative view of Hagan, while 42% have a favorable one.  Tillis’ negative score is comparable to Hagan’s rating.  47% have an unfavorable view of Tillis while 36% have a positive one.

Obama Approval Rating at 39%… Thumbs Down for Democrats and GOP in Congress

North Carolina residents have a grim view of how elected officials in Washington are performing their jobs.  Less than four in ten think President Obama is handling his jobwell, and, at least, a majority of adults statewide believe the Republicansand Democratsin Congress are falling short.  Nearly seven in ten also report the nation is on the wrong track.

On the state level, a plurality of North Carolina adults views Governor Pat McCrory’s job performance positively.

Poll points:

Nearly Half Down on Health Care Law

The Affordable Care Act is not being embraced by close to half of adults in North Carolina.  In fact, 42% strongly believe Obamacare is a bad idea.

Poll points:

  • 48% of adults statewide think the new health care law is a bad idea.  Included here are 42% who strongly have this opinion.  31% say the health care law is a good idea including 24% who strongly maintain this position.  20% have no opinion or are unsure.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables