After several months of declining poll numbers that saw Kay Hagan go from leading her potential GOP opponents by double digits to being effectively tied with most of them, her numbers have leveled out this month. 43% of voters approve of the job she's doing to 49% who disapprove, almost identical to 44/49 in November. Still it's clear the Obamacare rollout has taken its toll on her- in September she had this same 43% approval rating, but her disapproval has spiked 10 points from its 39% level then.
Hagan finds herself in toss up territory with all of her potential Republican opponents. She leads Thom Tillis 44/42, is tied with both Heather Grant and Mark Harris at 43, and trails both Greg Brannon and Bill Flynn 45/43. Those numbers are all pretty similar to what they were in November.
It may seem counter intuitive that Tillis, generally seen as the likely Republican candidate, is the only one who trails Hagan. That's a reflection of his being the only one of the GOP candidates who's particularly well known, and it not being a good thing for him. Only 12% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 30% with a negative one, a residual effect of his association with this year's unpopular legislative session. That's causing him to poll slightly worse than the more generic Republican candidates.
There's not much doubt that Barack Obama's declining popularity and the difficulties with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act are causing Hagan trouble. Obama's approval in the state is just 44%, with 55% of voters disapproving of him. That's one of the highest levels of disapproval we've found for him during his entire tenure. 65% think the rollout of the ACA has been unsuccessful, compared to only 30% who think it's gone well. It's actually worth noting though those numbers are a slight improvement from a month ago when 69% rated it unsuccessful to only 25% positive.
The big picture on this race is pretty simple. Over the summer when voter anger was focused on Raleigh and the legislature, Hagan was flying high in the polls. With the shift back to Washington now, things have gotten a lot more difficult for her. What happens in the short legislative session this spring may go a long way toward helping voters decide who they're angrier at as they make their choices in the closing stretch.
Full results here