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.”
“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.