#NCSEN: polls agree (1) Brannon & Tillis lead GOP pack, and (2) roughly 50 % of primary voters undecided

vote124The mainstream media and the political establishment are trying to tell us that state House speaker Thom Tillis is all but nominated to take on Kay Hagan in November.  Public Policy Polling has been tracking the race.  Some GOP operatives have been poo-pooing the PPP polling data.   But at least TWO other entities have conducted polling on the North Carolina Senate race.  One poll was sponsored by one of the two main political parties.  The other poll I know of was produced and sponsored by an entity that is not officially tied to either political party or any campaign in the race.  I talked on background with sources familiar with the findings of both of these polls.  Here are some of the interesting points my sources passed on:

  • The most recent PPP poll had Thom Tillis pulling 19 percent of the primary vote and Greg Brannon in second pulling 11 percent.  The latest PPP poll had 44 percent of respondents as Undecided.  The other two polls also had Tillis and Brannon in the neighborhood of 19 percent and 11 percent respectively.  In these two polls,  the GOP candidates not named Tillis or Brannon polled much worse than they did in the PPP poll.  One of the new polls showed 53 percent of respondents as Undecided, while the other showed 54 percent Undecided.
  • These two newest polls show Thom Tillis’ strength to be centered mainly in the greater Charlotte area and in Wake County — the two localities, obviously, where he is best known.  Bill Flynn’s strength is pretty much limited to the 336 area code in the Triad region.  (He drops like a rock outside of the Triad.)  Mark Harris shows strength in the greater Charlotte area and in The Triad.  (He’s a native of Winston-Salem.)  These two polls indicate that Harris is taking support from Tillis in the greater Charlotte area, but Flynn appears to be taking support from Harris in the Triad area.  Sources familiar with each poll tell me they were shocked to see the magnitude of Thom Tillis’ negative ratings in the greater Charlotte area. 
  • In an earlier post, I wondered why Tillis does not mention his NCGA tenure in his Senate campaign’s TV commercial.  A source with the party-affiliated poll tells me that may be a very smart strategy:  “When we asked voters specifically about Tillis and things that happened in the General Assembly during his time as speaker,  his poll numbers started plummeting.  After seeing those findings, if I were him, I wouldn’t want to talk about the legislature, either.”
  • Where is the battleground?  Sources connected to both of these newest polls tell me it appears to be the northwest quadrant of the state — between Greensboro and Asheville (the 336 and 828 area codes, specifically).  The situation in that part of the state appears to be the most fluid.  Wise men with each of the GOP campaigns are likely to have their candidates spending a lot of time in that part of the state over the ensuing weeks and months.

So, what can we conclude from this?  With the two candidates at the top of the poll separated by eight points and an Undecided population between 44 and 54 percent,  this race is up for grabs.  Far from settled.

I have a feeling the campaigns have internal numbers that tend to agree with these findings.  If they had something better, they’d be trumpeting it. 

Tillis is on TV now and scooping up PAC money like a mad man.  Brannon has set up six satellite campaign offices across the state (with one being added here in Moore County this week).  His campaign tells me he should be on the air with ads by mid- to late-February.

Stay tuned. There is A LOT of action to come.

11 thoughts on “#NCSEN: polls agree (1) Brannon & Tillis lead GOP pack, and (2) roughly 50 % of primary voters undecided

    1. To do that we need to get an electable candidate in the primary and that is NOT Thom ”Toll Road” Tilli$. Indeed, the differences between Tilli$ and Sock Puppet Hagan are negligible.

      Since the NCGOP under the inept chairman Hayes did not do an effective pushback against the leftwing ”Blueprint” smears on the GOP legislature, our GOP legislature has had a lot of Democrats lies stick to it. That means if we run a legislative leader like Tilli$, the Democrats and their allied groups like unions and liberal groups will bombard the state with a barrage of TV ads against the legislature in order to knock down Tilli$. If the Senate campaign has to spend all their money on the defensive against that, then they are dead in the water. The legislative ticket will not have the money to do so, and they will get clobbered by that advertising as collateral damage. That will kill Tilli$ and hurt our GOP legislative majority. No other US Senate hopeful faces that mortal threat, and those ads would be useless against the others. To keep our legislative majority and win the Senate seat, it is absolutely essential that we nominate someone OTHER than Tilli$. Nominating Tilli$ would be a death wish for the GOP.

  1. The candidate filing will be in February. The primary election will be in May. The General election will be in November.

  2. I wonder where Tillis sits in just the straight-up name-recognition department…how much of his 19% to 11% polling is a reflection of that? I think I’d find recent numbers on that interesting. I would think Tillis would have a big lead over the other GOP candidates in that department…

    But anyway…whew…that’s a large chunk sitting in the undecided column. I think it might be a bit telling that Tillis is only leading by so thin a margin, and so many GOP voters are not willing and eager to fall in line behind him.

    “When we asked voters specifically about Tillis and things that happened in the General Assembly during his time as speaker, his poll numbers started plummeting ”

    And you know TIllis is going to get hit with that over and over and over again if he gets past May… and I dont think that’s a bad strategy for Hagan. If I were Hagan looking at this field… “Tillis and His Legislature” is not too bad an opponent, given the circumstances.

    It will be a difficult climb, but I hope Brannon is able to make the necessary push and take it in May. I’d love to be able to vote against Kay Hagan. 🙂

    1. We well know that the attacks on the legislature are unfair and dishonest, but our Republican leadership did nothing significant to counter ”Blueprint” at the time these smears were launched, so now we are stuck with dealing with that image. It will kill Tilli$ in a general election, and if launched on a wide scale against Tilli$, it will also hurt the rest of our candidates, particularly at the legislative level. We simply cannot afford to have Tilli$ as our nominee.

      1. I do agree. that was the image that was painted – quite often it was undeserved, but I also recall lots of times where I was not the biggest fan of the legislature too. 🙂

        And one thing I do recall commenting repeatedly on at the end of many an N&O story was that the guys in the GOP legislature had political instincts so awful I could scarcely believe it. 🙂

        Regardless, though, that is where they sit now, and in addition to what I perceive as thin in-party support, he’s going to have a ridiculous time fighting that image in a wider general election.

        Interestingly… I dont think any of the other candidates have that particular problem 🙂

  3. “These two polls indicate that Harris is taking support from Tillis in the greater Charlotte area, but Flynn appears to be taking support from Harris in the Triad area. Sources familiar with each poll tell me they were shocked to see the magnitude of Thom Tillis’ negative ratings in the greater Charlotte area. ”

    Seems like the polls shoot down the theory that Harris was/is a plant to help Tillis. I said he wasn’t a plant right here from the start, but folks wanted to see a Tillis/Establishment conspiracy. Brannon has my vote as of now, but Harris (and the others) should be given a fair shake. Not everything is a conspiracy.

    Can we please get together, select the best candidate in the primary and BEAT HAGAN.

    1. Well, Robin Hayes either planted a knife in Tilli$’ back, or he is currently planting one in Harris’. Hayes was in the tank for Tilli$ but now is Harris’ chairman. The peculiar thing is that millionaire Hayes, the last I saw, had not yet put a dime into Harris’ campaign, and that is mighty strange if Harris is really his guy.

      As to polls, sometimes things turn out a bit different than what a campaign plans.

      The Tilli$ people have been calling around trying to get other candidates in the race. I talked to one a few days ago who got the call and turned them down.

      As to beating Hagan, I am all for that if we can get an improvement. All but one of the GOP candidates would be an improvement, but on that one, I am not sure that he would be. I could enthusiastically work for all but one of the GOP candidates in the general election. After RIchard Morgan’s betrayal of the GOP, I have consistently opposed Morgan, and I feel the same way about Morgan’s political spawn.

      1. “The Tilli$ people have been calling around trying to get other candidates in the race. I talked to one a few days ago who got the call and turned them down.”

        I can’t imagine why they would do that unless they have internal polling data that’s making them very uncomfortable.

  4. Greg Brannon has my vote because he is not the establishment. He is the only true Conservative in the race. You can judge for yourself tonight at 7 p.m. at the grand opening of his Campaign Headquarters in Southern Pines, 681 SW Broad Street, across from Beefeaters.

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