PPP's monthly look at the North Carolina Senate race once again finds a new leader on the Republican side. Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, tested for the first time, leads the way among GOP voters at 18%, followed by Virginia Foxx at 13%, Cherie Berry at 12%, Renee Ellmers at 10%, Phil Berger at 8%, Patrick McHenry at 7%, Greg Brannon at 4%, Thom Tillis at 2%, and Terry Embler at 1%.
Forest, along with Berry, is one of only two of the potential Republican candidates we tested who has over 50% name recognition. 36% of GOP primary voters view him favorably to 18% who have an unfavorable opinion. Forest finds particularly strong support with conservative voters.
One thing that continues to be particularly noteworthy is Tillis' poor showing. Even though he's basically been running for the Senate seat for 2 years he still places 8th in a 9 person field. It will be interesting to see if the new tv ad campaign on his behalf does anything to improve these numbers for next month's poll.
Kay Hagan continues to have a clear lead over all these potential Republican candidates for the general election. Forest and McHenry come the closest but still trail by 10 points at 50/40 and 49/39 respectively. Berry and Foxx do next best but each face a 12 point deficit at 50/38 and 49/37. After them it's Ellmers who trails by 13 at 49/36, Berger and Tillis who trail by 14 at 51/37 and 50/36 respectively, Brannon who trails by 15 at 51/36, and Embler who trails by 19 at 52/33.
Hagan's approval numbers continue to be pretty mixed with 42% of voters approving of her to 39% who disapprove. But if she stays at least even on her approval numbers and the Republicans don't put up a strong candidate against her she should be favored for reelection- that's basically the formula Richard Burr rode to a 12 point victory in his bid for a second term.
Full results here