Inside Politics: Tillis leads in NC Senate primary

Jan. 19, 2014 @ 08:55 AM

A recent poll shows North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, has expanded his lead in the Republican primary for the NC Senate seat currently held by Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released its latest poll which indicated Tillis holds an eight-point lead in the Republican primary over Greg Bannon and Heather Grant and 11 points over Mark Harris. Tillis polled with 19 percent of Republican voters while Bannon and Grant had 11 percent and Harris pulled in 8 percent.

PPP said it surveyed 1,384 North Carolina voters, including 575 Republican primary voters from Jan. 9-12.

The poll also indicated, if the election were held today, Tillis would still face a run-off as he would only garner 34 percent of the vote which is short of the 40 percent needed in North Carolina to win the primary outright.

Hagan was shown to trail all four Republican challengers by small margins. Additionally, Hagan's approval ratings dropped to 39 percent while 49 percent disapprove of her job performance.

In the event the election were held today, Hagan would trail Tillis and Grant by 1 percent and 2 percent against the remainder of the field.

Hagan did receive 72 percent favorability among voters who cast their ballot for Barack Obama during the 2012 election.

"The North Carolina Senate race continues to look like a toss up," said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in a statement.

No Republican received over 15 percent favorables in the poll with a majority of those polled not sure of any of the candidates.

A majority of those polled disapproved of the Affordable Care Act and said its implementation was "very unsuccessful." Only 9 percent viewed the rollout of the ACA website a success.

Tillis, House Speaker for the last two sessions of the General Assembly, polled higher among men as did Hagan. Independents, long seen as a target for both parties, disapproved of Hagan's job performance by 56 percent while Tillis received 32 percent unfavorables. Nearly 54 percent of independents viewed the rollout of the ACA website as very unsuccessful while only 7 percent said it was very successful.

While the Associated Press reported this week that many younger people had yet to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable care Act, in North Carolina 41 percent of voters between 18-29 viewed the rollout as somewhat successful while 46 percent of voters between 46-65 said it was very unsuccessful.