A new poll finds that that state House Speaker Thom Tillis has widened the gap between his opponents in the North Carolina Republican primary in the race for the United States Senate.

Tom Jensen of the left-leaning Public Policy Polling in Raleigh says that the latest numbers show that Tillis will likely avoid a run-off with forty-six percent of Republican voters indicating that they will vote for him on May 6.

That’s compared to 20 percent for his closest competitor, OBGYN Greg Brannon.

“We’ve really found that Thom Tillis has blown open the Republican Senate primary over the last month. The key thing for Tillis is to get to forty percent and avoid a run-off,” Jensen says. “With a week to go, he is in a pretty good position to do that.”

In March, a PPP poll found a drop in support for Tillis, who was then tied with Brannon at 14 percent.

In the following weeks, Tillis has had much more exposure to voters through campaign advertisements, and Jensen says that given the high number of undecideds for this primary, the added name recognition has contributed to additional support.

“We found that 80 percent of people who planned to vote in the primary have seen Tillis’ ads, but when it comes to Gregg Brannon and Mark Harris only about a quarter of voters say that they have seen their ads.”

Jensen says that Tillis has had to “tack pretty far to the right” in order to appeal to Republican primary voters, and it will be interesting to see how that stance will impact him in the coming months.

“There was a lot of question about whether Tom Tillis would be able to win over a Republican primary electorate that is this far to the right. It looks like he has won them over,” Jensen says. “The biggest question is whether this chance that he has had to take to do that will come back to bite him in the general election.”