NC-Sen: Baseline Polls Show Dole Is Vulnerable

As the North Carolina senate race has come into focus with two Democrats having officially entered the race to challenge Elizabeth Dole next year, Public Policy Polling (D) has polled head to head match-ups with Senator Dole to see where the race starts out. They also gauged Dole's approval rating in the state. As you can see below, one year out from the election, Dole starts from a very weak position, unable to achieve 50% in either support or approval.

On Oct. 24, PPP released a poll of a head-to-head match-up between Elizabeth Dole and Democratic challenger Chapel Hill businessman Jim Neal.

601 LVs, Oct. 22, MOE 3.95%

Dole 47
Neal 32

Dole Approval:

Approve 44
Disapprove 41

Once Democratic state senator Kay Hagan declared her intention to run for the Democratic nomination for senate as well, PPP wasted no time in going into the field to poll that match-up and released the results today.

795 LVs, Oct. 30, MOE 3.4%

Dole 46
Hagan 33

Dole Approval:

Approve 45
Disapprove 36

These numbers indicate at the very least that we're going to have a race on her hands. As PPP's blog reminds us, Dole's approval is even lower than that of other Republican senators who are considered top tier targets, such as Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Norm Coleman (R-MN.) And indeed, an Oct. 23 Rasmussen poll has her losing to popular Democratic governor Mike Easley 51%-42% were he to enter the race.

As PPP says:

Obviously, Mike Easley would be the Democrats' best choice and any other Democrat would not perform that well. But if a majority of voters would already consider voting for someone other than the incumbent that's not good news for her.

But perhaps even more worrisome for Dole is the extent to which North Carolina voters are sounding less and less as though they live in a red state and more like the nation as a whole.

Look at these results from Rasmussen:

4) Presidential Matchups

Clinton 43 Giuliani 44
Clinton 44 Thompson 44
Clinton 43 McCain 43
Clinton 46 Romney 41

5) When it comes to the War in Iraq, should the United States withdraw all combat troops immediately, bring the combat troops home within a year, or stay until the mission is completed?

22% Withdraw all combat troops immediately
33% Bring combat troops home within a year
41% Stay until the mission is complete
4% Not sure

Look for this race to become top tier as the Democratic candidates expand their name ID leading up to the primary to determine who will face Senator Dole in November.

There's more...

NC(Sen): My thoughts of Neal vs. Hagan and why YOU should care.

I, as much as anyone, have come out blasting the DSCC, the Democratic candidates, and anyone else who went looking for a new candidate just because Jim Neal was gay. That said, Hagan might very well make a great candidate. I would suggest that no one discount her because of when she came into the race or how. Anyone, except me that is. Because, for me, this race is about the heart of the Democratic Party in North Carolina and it is a gut check moment for Democrats around the country.  At stake is this.
  1. The DSCC fails to bring in any of its top-tier candidates (Mike Easley, Roy Cooper, Beverly Perdue, Richard Moore).
  2. Bloggers put on a press to Draft Brad Miller, who we feel would be a progressive dream, a netroots hero for all of us to cheer and back. He declines.
  3. The DSCC/NC powers-to-be/bloggers decide that state Rep. Grier Martin is our man, until he says no. In the process of his deliberations, state Sen. Kay Hagan backs out gracefully.
  4. We have no one, and then up to the plate steps Democratic fundraiser extraordinare Jim Neal.  Bloggers rejoice, the mainstream Dems, not so much.
  5. We find out why, Jim is gay, proudly so.
  6. Hagan is suddenly back in the race following many harried phone calls from current Democratic candidates worried that Jim's being the nominee will hurt their changes at being elected, after all, he's gay{shhhhh}.

That is where we stand folks, we have two candidates, one who came of his own free will and one who has apparently been lured by the DSCC at the bequest of the local power brokers out of fear that he's not mainstream enough.  That in itself is not reason enough to support Jim Neal, this is:

There's more...

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