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Election 2014: North Carolina Senate

North Carolina Senate: Hagan (D) 48%, Tillis (R) 46%

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The critical North Carolina Senate race has tightened up with less than a month to go until Election Day.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely North Carolina Voters finds incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan earning 48% support to Republican challenger Thom Tillis’ 46%. Two percent (2%) prefer another candidate in the race, and four percent (4%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Hagan posted a 45% to 39% lead over Tillis a month ago.  The numbers were reversed in August with Tillis ahead 45% to 40%.

This is the first survey of the race to include “leaners,” those who initially are undecided or prefer a third-party candidate and are asked again to pick between the Republican and the Democrat.

North Carolina now moves from Leans Democrat back to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Senate Balance of Power rankings.  Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate, and they’ve long counted on North Carolina to be one of those pickups.

Among the 85% of Tar Heel voters who say they are definitely going to vote in this election, the race is a tie at 48% apiece. But just 67% say they are certain at this point who they will vote for. Among those who are certain of their vote, Tillis leads 57% to 43%, but among those who could still change their minds, Hagan has a better than two-to-one lead – 56% to 25%.

Hagan was elected in 2008 with 53% support. Tillis is the current speaker of the North Carolina House. The two debated again last night. This survey was taken the night before and the night of the debate.

Hagan has the support of 80% of North Carolina Democrats. Tillis has the backing of 84% of the state’s Republicans and leads by just three points among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties.

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The survey of 970 Likely Voters in North Carolina was conducted on October 6-7, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats are at stake this November. Presently, 21 of them are held by Democrats and 15 by Republicans. Democrats currently have a 53-to-45 majority over Republicans in the Senate. In addition, there are two independent senators who caucus with the Democrats.

Hagan has been especially critical of Tillis’ positions on women’s issues. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of North Carolina voters believe there really is a political “war on women,” compared to 22% of voters nationally. Still, most voters (58%) in the state think the “war on women” is primarily just a slogan used for political purposes.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters who think there is a real “war on women” support Hagan. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of those who see it as a political slogan instead prefer Tillis.

Tillis, in turn, has been very critical of Hagan’s support of the new national health care law. Forty-one percent (41%) in North Carolina have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, while 52% view it unfavorably. This includes 21% with a Very Favorable opinion and 40% with a Very Unfavorable one. This is in line with voter attitudes nationally.

Voters in the state also agree with voters nationwide when it comes to the health care law’s contraceptive mandate.  Fifty-one percent (51%) believe a business should be allowed to opt out of providing health insurance coverage for some contraceptives if providing such coverage violates the religious beliefs of the business’ owner. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagree.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of North Carolina voters who believe businesses should be allowed to opt out of the contraceptive mandate favor Tillis. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of those who oppose opting out choose Hagan.

The incumbent leads by 11 points among women voters in the state, while Tillis is ahead by eight among men.

Hagan is viewed favorably by 50% of voters in North Carolina and unfavorably by 46%. This includes 29% with a Very Favorable opinion of her and 32% with a Very Unfavorable one. For Tillis, favorables are 47% and unfavorables 47%. This includes 22% with a Very Favorable view of the GOP candidate and 33% with a Very Unfavorable one.

President Obama lost North Carolina in the 2012 election by a 50% to 48% margin, and that alignment appears to have changed little since then. Forty-eight percent (48%) of the state’s voters approve of the job the president is doing, while 49% disapprove. This includes 30% who Strongly Approve and 43% who Strongly Disapprove, giving the president a better job approval rating in the state than he earns nationally.

See our most recent numbers from the Senate races in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma (special),Oregon, South Carolina, South Carolina (special), South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of North Carolina voters approve of the job Governor Pat McCrory is doing, while 46% disapprove. This includes 20% who Strongly Approve of the GOP governor’s performance and 29% who Strongly Disapprove.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.  

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