#NCSEN: High Point U. poll says Hagan 42, Tillis 40, Haugh 6
Even though Kay Hagan is on top here, this survey represents some of the best polling news in weeks for Thom Tillis. The survey — 410 likely voters from 9/13 to 9/18 — has a margin of error of roughly +-5 percent. THAT puts things in too-close-for-comfort territory for the incumbent Hagan.
High Point’s poll says 12 percent of respondents were “undecided” on the race.
Hagan’s approval favorable / unfavorable came in at 39/50. As a comparison, Republican Richard Burr’s stood at 34/31. (35 percent said they didn’t know what to think of Burr.)
So far, in the month of September, Hagan has polled with leads over Tillis ranging from 4 to 10 points. The two outliers are this survey from High Point University, and a Civitas survey from 9/10 showing Hagan with a ONE point lead.
The last poll giving Tillis a lead was a CBS News poll at the end of August that had the GOP challenger up by ONE over the Democrat incumbent. Before that, you have to go back to a Civitas poll at the end of July showing Tillis up by TWO and to the first week of August where a Rasmussen poll gave Tillis a FIVE point lead. The two major party candidates debated on live television the evening of September 3.
4 thoughts on “#NCSEN: High Point U. poll says Hagan 42, Tillis 40, Haugh 6”
Team Tillis blew it very badly over the summer on three issues that could have both given conservatives much more confidence in voting for him and in helping him with independents and moderates. Those issues are 1) illegal immigration, 2) the new EPA carbon rules, and 3) Common Core. On these issues, he was silent, but has a bad legacy position on the first one.
Stopping illegal immigration and stopping any form of amnesty for illegal aliens already in the country is a huge issue for conservative voters. Polling has shown it is the number one issue among Republican voters. A recent Washington Post poll also shows that opposing illegal immigration and opposing ”a pathway to citizenship” for illegals already here is a winning issue with independent and moderate voters but are significantly more likely to support candidates opposing that pathway than they are those who support it.
The surge of the illegal ”border children” (actually mostly teenagers or those who claim to be teenagers but seem to be older) was an outstanding opportunity to refine his position on illegal immigration and back away from the vote-losing position he took when he told the NC Farm Bureau he supported a ”pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens. Tillis could have explained his reversal very easily in that this surge was now proof that dangling such types of amnesty clearly was a magnet for more illegals. As Speaker he could have stood beside Governor McCrory when the governor took a stronger stand on the issue, and could have even added to it by demanding that the feds not send illegals to NC without NC’s consent.
Then there were the Obama EPA carbon regs which will drive up electric rates substantially for consumers. Utility rates are a kitchen table issue that appeal to most consumers of whatever political persuasion. Tillis was silent on those. The impact of this issue can be shown when it was a major issue in recent Canadian and Australian elections where it was a major issue. Canada’s Liberal Party made introduction of a new carbon tax a major part of its campaign, and polls showed that was the reason the party got its worst election result in party history. In Australia, the conservative opposition made repeal of the governing Labour Party’s carbon tax a major part of its campaign, and polls showed that was why they won a huge landslide victory over Labour.
The third issue was Common Core. To be fair, the fact that any repeal of Common Core passed the legislature indicated that Tillis helped, simply because TIllis’ micromanagement of legislation meant that if he gave it the red light, the bill never would have gotten out of committee. Tillis was silent about his helping this bill along, and when it got to conference committee, we might have seen why. Tillis did not appoint all strong anti-Common Core members as House conferees, and as a result the bill got watered down. Championing this legislation openly and not letting it get watered down would have been good politics, as well as good policy. Not only is this an issue that resonates strongly with conservative voters, but showing concern about education policy and local control of local schools should play well with all voters. Among voters the anti-CC constituency is much larger and more engaged than those who are pro-CC.
One wonders why Team Tillis missed these obvious political moves. One reason may be fundamental incompetence of his staff who do not comprehend how issues drive votes.
Another may be Tillis reluctance to fray his ties to certain special interests who have shelled out for his campaign. The US Chamber of Commerce spent big bucks in the primary for Tillis, and they adamantly support both amnesty for illegal aliens and Common Core. His other big money source, Karl Rove, also supports the liberal position on both issues. The Green Energy cabal has also had a close relationship with Tillis and helped fund his campaign. If this is the case, then Tillis put his special interest funders ahead of the voters of North Carolina, and indeed ahead of actually winning the election.
Tillis also may have been afraid of being accused of flip flopping. After all, he is on record telling the NC Farm Bureau that he supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. He also has a record in the legislature of supporting green energy mandates that raise consumers electric bills like the Renewable Energy Mandate. I seem to recall he may have also had a former Common Core position that may have been deemed a flip flop.
Regardless of the reason, Tillis’ failure to engage on these three issues over the summer is a big part of the reason his campaign is foundering now. It is issues, not personalities that win or lose elections. Does he still have time to utilize these issues? While the timing would not be optimal on any of them, as all three really came to a head over the summer, it is still probably better late than never. For those of us who do not want Hagan but are also unhappy with Tillis, it could be decisive. For undecided voters, it would give some solid reasons to swing to Tillis.
“One wonders why Team Tillis missed these obvious political moves. One reason may be fundamental incompetence of his staff who do not comprehend how issues drive votes.
Another may be Tillis reluctance to fray his ties to certain special interests who have shelled out for his campaign.”
(1) I have a hard believing that Tillis’s staff would not be doing exactly what Tillis directs them to.
(2) I think you may have a shaky underlying assumption there, that Tillis holds the same principles and beliefs on such issues that you hold. In fact, another thing I have a hard time believing is that Tillis’s coziness with the Chamber of Commerce/”Dem-lite”/Rove establishment wing of the GOP is not exactly where Tillis intends and desires to be.
1) When you are dealing with Shumaker, never discount incompetence completely.
2) We are not talking about Tillis’ beliefs, but about his issue positions that decide whether he would win the election. One would hope they would be the same, but with too many politicians they are not. Of course, at least if they promise a position, you have a better chance of holding their feet to the fire, even if that does not always work. Marco Rubio had a pro-amnesty orientation as Speaker of the Florida House, for example, then as a US Senate candidate loudly championed the anti-amnesty cause and made it a major issue in his primary campaign, and ultimately after he was elected became part of the pro-amnesty Gang of 8. (see http://www.marcorubioamnestyman.com )
I guess your position is that he is a flaming liberal and would never be expected to be anything else, and yes that can explain it, too. One would expect that even so, he would want to take positions that would help him win the election, even if he intended to pull a Marco Rubio afterward. Integrity and Tillis do not necessary fit well in the same sentence.
Kay Hagan sits atop a huge campaign war chest. Once she unleashes her ads Tillis will be rocked and the wizard will be exposed. Expect to see Hagan steadily rise in the polls and then expect her to win by a better margin than the polls predicted. North Carolina does not want Karl Rove in charge of our state!
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