PPP's first general election poll of the North Carolina Senate contest continues to find a very competitive race, with both candidates unpopular and many voters leaning toward a third party candidate as a result.
Kay Hagan leads Thom Tillis 38/36 with Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh pulling a surprisingly high 11%. Haugh's presence in the race has the potential to be a headache for Tillis moving forward if the contest remains this competitive- people planning to vote for him right now say they would support Tillis over Hagan 47/27 if they had to choose between the major party candidates. When you reallocate those folks the race is tied at 41%- usually a 2 point difference like that doesn't matter but given the closeness of this one it could.
Haugh's surprising support is likely the function of voters being pretty down on both of the major party candidates. Hagan has a 38/49 approval spread, pretty consistent with where her numbers have been since Republicans began running attack ads on her last fall. Tillis is at a 30/46 favorability spread, including only 51/23 with GOP voters. Despite his outright win last week some folks within his own party continue to be disaffected with him and are leaning toward voting Libertarian at least for now.
In a lot of the US Senate races that are competitive right now the undecided voters are strongly Republican leaning, suggesting that the races could break toward the GOP in the end. That's not the case here though- undecideds actually voted for Barack Obama by a 55/37 margin in 2012 and are pretty evenly split on his approval right now at 40/42. That makes it likely this race will remain within a couple points one way or the other moving forward.
We also took a look at the hotly contested Supreme Court race between Robin Hudson and Eric Levenson that drew so much attention in the primary election. Despite the large sum of money spent on attack ads against her Robin Hudson still has a positive favorability rating at 22/16, and 62% of voters say they have no opinion about her. That's a pretty good indication of how difficult it is for a judicial race to ever really break through in voter's minds. Hudson starts out the general election with a 28/17 lead over Levenson, but with 54% of voters still undecided it remains pretty up in the air.
Full results here