PPP's monthly look at the North Carolina Senate race finds Thom Tillis continuing to have difficulty breaking away from the pack in a way that would let him avoid a runoff in the Republican Senate primary. Tillis is polling at 20%, followed by Greg Brannon and Heather Grant at 13%, Ted Alexander at 10%, Mark Harris at 8%, and Edward Kryn at 2%. Tillis is only receiving support right now from about 30% of the voters who have made up their minds, which would place him well below the 40% mark needed to win the primary outright.
Tillis has only slightly increased his support from a month ago when he was at 19%. It's interesting to note that Harris, often viewed as the top competitor to Tillis, continues to lag in support compared to Brannon and even Grant and Alexander who aren't viewed as serious candidates. It's taking a long time for this field to really develop.
The general election picture in the Senate race remains the same, with Kay Hagan trailing most of her potential opponents by small margins. 41% of voters approve of Hagan to 50% who disapprove of her, making this the fourth month in a row she's had roughly a -10 net approval rating since attack ads started being run against her. Her approval continues to correlate very closely to Obamacare's approval in the state, which is a 38/51 spread.
Hagan is tied with Edward Kryn at 40% but beyond that trails the Republican field. She's down 2 points to Heather Grant, Mark Harris, and Thom Tillis at 41/39, 42/40, and 42/40 respectively, trails Greg Brannon by 3 at 43/40, and has her largest deficit against Ted Alexander of 7 points at 45/38. The Republican candidates continue to be mostly unknown with name recognition for all of them hovering around 25-27% except for Tillis who 44% of voters are familiar with.
There is one issue coming down the pike that sets up better for Hagan than the Obamacare one that's caused her so much trouble of late. 56% of voters support increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour, compared to only 33% opposed to that idea. It has favor from 77% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and even 32% of Republicans. That and reinstating unemployment benefits are pocketbook issues with a lot of popular support and Hagan can only hope that as the focus shifts to those things her numbers start to rebound. For now this race is pretty much in a holding pattern with us finding the same picture month after month after month.
Full results here