Latest Poll Finds New Republican Front-Runner For Senate

RALEIGH – Public Policy Polling(PPP) released their latest poll on the North Carolina Senate race this week, and for the third time in as many months found a different Republican front-runner to challenge Kay Hagan this fall.

“The top choice among Republicans to be their U.S Senate candidate next year would be Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest,” says PPP director Tom Jensen. “We find him polling at 18%, 13% for Congresswomen Virginia Foxx, 12% for Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, and 10% for Congresswomen Renee Ellmers. Everybody else who we tested drew single-digits.”

The poll also shows the probable Republican candidates are struggling with name recognition. Only Forest and Berry were recognized by over half of respondents.

Jensen says the lack of name recognition is leading to a wide-open race.

“In January, Virginia Foxx had the lead and last month Cherrie Berry had the lead,” says Jensen. “I think when you see a different leader every month like that, it just shows how really wide open the Republican Senate race is. None of the folks are particularly well-known at that point, and that means it is really up for grabs. Just about anyone could win the nomination.”

Currently, North Carolina’s two senators are Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan. Hagan’s term will end in 2015. Jensen says while Hagan is currently leading by a fairly wide margin, the race will certainly tighten closer to election date.

“She has leads ranging from 10 to 19 points against these Republicans,” says Jensen. “I think that Hagan is in a pretty decent position, but it is still going to get closer. We see a lot of undecided Republicans in all of these matchups simply because Republican voters are not familiar with their potential candidates”

According to Jensen, Dan Forest and Patrick McHenry poll the best in direct competition with Hagan.

Because of the lack of recognition of Republican candidates, Jensen says Hagan’s approval numbers may be a better indicator of how close the race could be this fall.

“On that front, we find voters pretty closely divided,” says Jensen. “42% of voters think she is doing a good job and 39% disapprove. When you have someone who’s approval ratings are so closely divided like that, you are likely to have a pretty close race.”

More At Stake Than You Might Think

I’m calling on my fellow Orange County residents to help defeat amendment one, also known as the marriage discrimination amendment, by voting against the amendment on May 8th.

You may be aware that all domestic partnerships, for both gay and straight couples alike, will be ended in places that offer them such as Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham, should this amendment pass. This could have devastating effects on hospital visitation rights, on the ability to share healthcare benefits, and on end-of-life-care decision-making rights for LGBT couples. So you should vote against the amendment, on May 8th.

But what you may not be aware of is that this amendment has special cause for alarm for all unmarried couples, because of its prohibition against the recognition of any union other than marriage.

UNC law professors have warned us against a repeat of what happened in Ohio, whose similarly-worded amendment called into question their domestic violence protection laws.

The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also joined the fight against the amendment because of its tragic implications.

So you really should vote against it, on May 8th.

Even Tea Party Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers says this amendment goes much too far and should be voted against.

Please, vote against this amendment on May 8th.  Or early vote against it during the early voting period starting on April 19th.  Or, if you’re especially motivated, look up Equality NC and ask them how you can volunteer.

Jake Gellar-Goad
Chapel Hill Resident