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If you're Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC), you're probably really happy to hear this news from Raleigh based PPP:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan speaks at James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, July 7, 2008. Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, was scheduled to appear but his plane was diverted to St. Louis this morning after the pilot reported a mechanical problem. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the incredible unpopularity of the North Carolina legislature may be Kay Hagan though. Voters are still pretty evenly divided in their feelings about her personally, with 43% approving to 45% disapproving. But she nevertheless has double digit leads over all 8 of her potential Republican opponents, an improvement from the numbers she's posted over the last couple months. She's up 10 on Phil Berger and Greg Brannon at 49/39, 11 on Thom Tillis at 49/38, 12 on Virginia Foxx at 49/37, 13 on Jim Cain and Renee Ellmers at 49/36, 14 on Mark Harris at 49/35, and 15 on Lynn Wheeler at 49/34.

As usual there are a lot more undecided Republicans in these match ups than there are Democrats, likely owing to the fact that most of the GOP hopefuls aren't terribly well known yet. The only potential candidate with over 50% name recognition is Foxx. Once Republicans eventually settle on someone and voters become more familiar with them the race will tighten up- but it's certainly good news for Hagan that she's so close to 50%. - PPP, 7/17/13

And if you're North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R. NC), who has declared his candidacy, or State Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger (R. NC) you probably won't like this news either:
The bad news is that GOP voters are still shopping for another candidate- 16% say their top choice would be Virginia Foxx, 11% each pick Phil Berger, Jim Cain, and Renee Ellmers, 7% pick Greg Brannon, Tillis is in the 6th place at 5%, and the field is rounded out with Lynn Wheeler at 3% and Mark Harris at 1%.

One final thing that's worth noting on this poll is how bad Berger and Tillis' favorability numbers are. Each of them is at a -20 spread, 11/31 for Berger and 12/32 for Tillis. We generally find a built in net favorability of about -10 for a politician without much name recognition so part of it's that but in March we had Berger at a -14 spread and Tillis at a -9 one so their situations have gotten much worse over the course of the legislative session. Hagan's biggest liability next year might be her role in an incredibly unpopular Congress...but getting to run against the leaders of an incredibly unpopular legislature can only help her prospects. - PPP, 7/17/13

PPP surveyed 600 North Carolina voters, including an oversample of 373 usual Republican primary voters, between July 12th and 14th. The margin of error for the overall survey is +- 4.0%, and +-5.1% for the GOP portion.  

This Senate race is going to be a referendum on the North Carolina GOP and how Art Pope's influence on the state legislature.  The North Carolina's radical GOP agenda has really made their approval ratings take a huge hit:

North Carolinians are very angry about the abortion bill that's been working its way through the General Assembly...and now their anger toward state government is really being directed toward Governor Pat McCrory.

For the first time since taking office we find that McCrory has a negative approval rating this month. Only 40% of voters are happy with the job he's doing to 49% who disapprove. That's down a net 15 points from June when he was at a 45/39 spread. While McCrory's numbers are pretty steady with Republicans, he continues to lose ground with Democrats (down a net 17 points from -36 at 24/60 last month to now -53 at 17/70) and independents (down a net 20 points from +12 at 46/34 last month to -8 at 41/49 now). Only 68% of people who voted for McCrory last fall continue to approve of his job performance.

Unhappiness over the abortion bill seems to be driving a lot of the increased unhappiness with the Republicans in state government this month. Only 34% of voters support the proposal to 47% who are opposed. They're even more unhappy with the process- 80% think it's inappropriate to combine abortion legislation with bills about motorcycle safety or Sharia Law.

This speaks to a greater issue voters have with the General Assembly's transparency- only 19% think the body is transparent in how it conducts its business to 51% who believe it is not. As a result North Carolinians think by a 48/33 margin that McCrory should veto the abortion law, including a 51/37 margin with independents. - PPP, 7/16/13

55% of voters are unhappy with the legislation that resulted in 70,000 North Carolinians losing their unemployment benefits.  76% of voters think that companies engaged in fracking in North Carolina should have to disclose all the chemicals they inject into the ground.  46% of voters think the ongoing Republican focus on Sharia Law is misplaced energy.  Hence why the North Carolina GOP legislature has a 35/55 approval rating while North Carolina Democrats get a 51/42 approval rating.  The protestors at the General Assembly meeting are also more popular than the North Carolina GOP getting a 47/41 approval rating.  

It's clear that if the North Carolina GOP nominates someone like Tillis or Berger, it could really screw their chances of beating Hagan.  Tillis and Berger are the faces of the radical GOP agenda, hence why the NRSC is looking for an alternative:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee was in Raleigh, N.C., earlier this week and met with several potential challengers for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan's seat, a sign that national Republicans may not yet be sold on House Speaker Thom Tillis as their party's standardbearer in one of their top races this cycle.

The committee sat down with Tillis, as well as state Senate President Phil Berger and Rep. Renee Ellmers, both of whom are considering bids. Berger confirmed the meeting, telling Raleigh's WRAL radio station: "I'm not any closer to what the decision is, but I'm closer to a decision." Berger added that he'll make an announcement one way or the other by the end of the month.

Asked about the impression that the NRSC is seeking an alternative to Tillis, Shumaker said, "That was clearly not the indication given to us."

But Tillis has been plagued by bad press on the local and national level, and that may be giving national Republicans some pause. Tillis has been repeatedly criticized for raising money for his Senate campaign from groups lobbying the state House, which would be illegal if he were running a state, and not a federal, campaign. And though Tillis has generally sidestepped social issues, he'll soon have to take a stance on a highly controversial abortion bill recently passed by the state Senate. Deciding whether to support the bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, opens him up to cross-pressures on the issue of abortion rights. That bill and the growing protests of the Republican legislative agenda outside the state Capitol have gotten coverage not only across North Carolina but also across the country. The abortion bill and Capitol protests are also an issue for Berger, who championed the abortion legislation in the state Senate. - National Journal, 7/10/13

Hagan can still win this race but she is going to need our support now more than ever.  She's been raking in the campaign cash and she's been campaigning heavily against the North Carolina GOP's agenda:
Restrictions on women’s health snuck into unrelated bills. Legislation passed in surprise late-night sessions to shut down health clinics.

The fight to protect women’s health has officially come to North Carolina, as out-of-touch politicians in the legislature stoop to new lows.

Emboldened by their recent consolidation of power in the statehouse, they are looking to win this seat to expand their anti-women’s health agenda.

We know that we can and must defeat them, but we also know that it takes a strong, organized campaign and the will to do what’s right. It means we need you – today.

$15,000 – that’s what we need to raise by July 19 to take this effort to protect women’s health in North Carolina to the next level.

Click here to contribute $15 or whatever you can now so that we have the resources to defend the rights of women across the state and the country:

It’s unbelievable that we have to defend such basic rights in 2013. But we do.

They’re trying to shut down clinics that provide vital healthcare services to women and their families. Unfortunately, it’s happening in states across the country and has picked up steam here in North Carolina.

At the end of the day, if we want laws that work for women, we need more women making the laws.

Donate now – let them know we won’t let them play politics with women’s health:

Thanks for standing with me – and with women across the country.


You can click here to donate to Hagan's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and DKos Asheville.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good grief, talk about buyer's remorse (9+ / 0-)

    Maybe next election North Carolina voters should actually examine the policies espoused by the people they're voting for.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:13:03 AM PDT

    •  It was more about backlash than anything (6+ / 0-)

      Mike Easley, John Edwards, and by extension Bev Purdue all played into the hands of the GOP.  In 2012, there was also a scandal involving the NCDP party chair, though I'm not sure how much attention anyone paid to it.  It was probably enough to simply use the words "Democrat" and "scandal" in the same sentence by that time.

      AND... it's also worth noting that over a third of the seats in the legislature were uncontested in 2012.  The split was (I think) 11-7, R in the Senate and 26-25, R in the House among the seats not contested by the opposition. (Two of the races had write in candidates, but neither claimed more than 1.5% of the vote, and neither were contested by the opposition party.)  So in a third of the districts, it didn't matter how educated you were on the issues or the policies, you only had one choice.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:34:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're going to fix that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We have to offer an alternative to people even in the most Red districts. The only way we'll start to win again is to make sure OUR values are placed in front of voters, and that we make a strong case to vote for this party over the other.

        •  I agree. Completely. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And I find it hard to believe that the NCDP couldn't find one competent candidate in all of the 98th district to oppose the ALEC poster boy Thom Tillis.  Or Phil Berger.  Or Paul Stam.

          I suspect -- though I can't say I know this -- that both parties have districts they feel sure they can't lose, and by extension that means there are districts they can't win.  So by mutual agreement -- spoken or not -- they agree to concede those districts which allows each party to focus its resources on the districts that are actually in play.

          Entering the races in districts that have historically been untouchable is a gamble.  The NCGOP has FAR more money and resources, and I have no doubt that if the Dems go into District 98 to take on Tillis, there will be an equal or better reaction in a district like House 34, which was uncontested when Deborah Ross won it, but now is held by her successor Grier Martin.  So it isn't simply a matter of potentially losing the resources spent to attempt to unseat Tillis (which will be a heavy lift by itself) it's also gambling that you have the resources to defend Martin's seat and potentially every other Dem in the NCGA.

          But if the approval of the NCGA in general, and the GOP caucus in particular continues to crater, the NCDP will never have a better chance than 2014 to reclaim the legislature.  But the party leadership needs to sort itself out NOW in order for that to happen.  Because the NCDP, from what I can see, is in a state of near total disarray.

          I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

          by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 12:37:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is its a money thing... (0+ / 0-)

            I have an answer to that. I simply expect no monetary support to come in some races.

            We are going to be out funded no matter what we do, so on the money front I would rather look into ways to leverage the full state party when possible, find smarter ways to use limited funds, and look into making adjustments to a campaign to take advantage of technology and get the word out while staying financially lean. A tall order? Yes, but I think we can do it.

            And yeah, I get that feeling as well from the NCDP. I'm looking at things from a county level and will probably get some diaries up once I see if the things I am trying now are worth emulating across the other counties.

            •  Well... you sure picked an ambitious place (0+ / 0-)

              to start.  Hickory?  Whew!  Keep us posted on how that goes... if it'll work there, it'll work just about anywhere.

              I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

              by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 01:01:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks! Will do (0+ / 0-)

                It will not be easy for sure, but I'm up to the challenge. I only have to help make up for an R+15 advantage, lol!

                The big issue for me locally is dealing with apathy. Lots of people in my demographic who don't care, or care but don't vote because they don't see the point in it. I need to work on my persuasion skills and find some good talking points to break people out of this mind set if we hope to get anywhere.

  •  GOP in North Carolina continues to self destruct (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, karmsy, davehouck, rubyclaire, Aquarius40

    Good to know Kay Hagan, at least for now, has the advantage in the polls.

    •  What's even better (5+ / 0-) to see the approval rating of the GOP legislative caucus and Pat McCrony cratering.  I for one find it hilarious that the Moral Monday protesters have a higher approval rating than the General Assembly.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:35:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pat McCrony eh? :) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The way you spelled it certainly described the Governor from what I understand.  The Democratic Party previously had a Governor in 2012 but apparently she wasn't popular.  Looks like McCrony is a one-term, would-be one hit wonder.

        •  My pet name for him... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          McCrony is only the third Republican governor in NC since... well, at least in my lifetime. (Jim Holshouser and James Martin being the other two.)  Purdue didn't really do a bad job, she got dealt some shitty cards and may have been in over her head.  I think she had good intentions, but I also think she saw the writing on the wall after the 2010 midterms.  The one thing I can't get past, though, is the timing of her bailout.  She announced that she wouldn't seek a second term in late December 2011, which left the party scrambling to put together a primary for the gubernatorial race.

          As for who puts the Crony in McCrony, you can start with Art Pope, then add in Duke Energy and George Shinn.  Then there's the NC-20 crowd, a cabal of wealthy suits representing the richest of the state's rich.  Prior to his election to governor, McCrony served as mayor of Charlotte, a big banking hub and HQ for Duke, so he made plenty of connections (and is reported to have been working as a consultant for Duke while still mayor).  Enter the bromance with Pope, who he has appointed as his chief adviser since taking office, and it's a recipe for corruption so pungent they can smell it in Asheville.

          I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

          by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 12:47:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great to see Hagan campaigning strongly for (6+ / 0-)

    women's rights.  I know we at DKos don't always agree with her on every policy, but having a strong voice for women in NC is so critical right now and I'm glad to see her stepping up.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:38:45 AM PDT

    •  I don't agree with Hagan on every point (5+ / 0-)

      but on balance I think she's doing a pretty good job.  Keep in mind that she's in much the same position than Mark Begich in AK, just in a somewhat bluer state.  She only knocked out Liddy Dole by a nose, despite Dole shooting herself in the foot.  So she may be slightly more centrist than your more militant Dems would like.  But she does provide a counterweight to Dick "Mini-Mitch" Burr on those rare occasions when a floor vote is actually allowed to proceed.

      On the up side, though, if Virginia Foxx is the best the GOP can come up with, I'll sleep a lot easier for the next year and a half.  Ellmers is more worrisome, since she's more palatable than Foxx (not a real high bar), but she has little name recognition outside her district.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:58:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good news (0+ / 0-)

    How is this even possible in NC?

  •  Thanks for reporting the PPP results (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The numbers are hopeful, and speak to the success of the Moral Monday movement in bringing attention to the actions of the legislature.

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 12:03:03 PM PDT

    •  Yes, the more light that is shown on the extreme (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      actions of the GOP once they are in office, the easier it is to discredit them when they pretend to be moderate in general elections.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 12:49:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Virginia Foxx (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently, she's popular among NC R's for a statewide nomination, but I can't believe she could win a general election!

  •  And you should see the regressive tax cut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The GA just passed a tax bill that is "Reverse Robin Hood" -- it takes from the poor and gives to the rich.  They flattened the income tax to a flat 5.8%.  And they cut Corporate Taxes.  I think they are also eliminating our Tax Free holiday.  I use that day to buy school supplies and clothes for my kids.

    Wait until the voters see how little the middle class and poor benefit, while the rich make out like bandits.  This can only help Hagan and Dems in general in 2014.

  •  Hope Virginia Foxx runs (0+ / 0-)

    Then we kill 2 birds with one stone:

    1.  She won't be able to run for her seat in Congress also.

    2.  She gets defeated by Kay Hagan and is completely out of a job.  

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:57:13 PM PDT

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