by Barry Smith
A new American Insights Poll shows incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan opening up a 43 percent to 34 percent lead over GOP House Speaker Thom Tillis in the race for a seat that could help tilt the partisan balance of the Senate.
Libertarian Sean Haugh has 5 percent. While 64 percent of the respondents who say they’ll vote for Haugh say they’re doing so because they don’t like either of the other two candidates, 82 percent of his supporters said they’d consider voting for another candidate when the time comes to vote.
“After being deadlocked for most of the year, the race has unmistakably shifted toward Sen. Hagan in recent days,” said Pearce Godwin, director of the Republican Leaning American Insights Poll. “This poll is a continuation and affirmation of the very recent trend in Sen. Hagan’s direction. But there is still a lot of time left on the clock, and would not be surprised if this volatile race shifts back to a jump ball between now and November.”
The AI Poll also showed that:
— Thirty-nine percent of likely voters reported watching the debate between Hagan and Tillis, with 54 percent of those saying that Hagan performed better, compared to 33 percent for Tillis.
— Among likely voters, Hagan is leading Tillis both among women (44 percent to 31 percent) and men (41 percent to 37 percent).
— Tillis is leading by Hagan 42 percent to 36 percent among white likely voters, but is losing black voters to hagan by 73 percent to 8 percent.
— Independents narrowly favor Hagan, 35 percent to 34 percent.
— Tillis leads Hagan among likely voters who are native North Carolinians 39 percent to 38 percent.