#NCSEN: Sabato says race “Leans Democrat,” Tillis “stuck”

sock1Political prognosticator, cable TV talking head, and UVa political scientist Larry Sabato is seeing things trending Kay Hagan’s way this year:

Another week is down the drain in the race for the Senate, and while our overall outlook is unchanged — a five to eight seat gain for the GOP — some of our ratings are in need of adjustments.

One of these comes as a surprise, as Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is proving to be quite resilient.

Several Democrats privately expressed to us earlier this year their pessimism about Hagan’s chances. They didn’t think she had the wherewithal and entrenched image of someone like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who is a much more respected campaigner. But now those same Democrats, to their surprise, believe Hagan can now win. And we’ve seen a lot of polling, both public and private, indicating that she is ahead, though she’s closer to 45% than 50%, which is still tenuous territory for a Democratic incumbent in a Republican year.

The problem for Republicans in the Tar Heel State is that Thom Tillis, their candidate and the speaker of the state House of Representatives, has particularly poor numbers for a challenger: His unfavorables are usually higher than his favorables, and not just by a few points.[…]

Hagan’s numbers aren’t great, either, though they appear to be improving: There’s some indication that her favorability is inching up to near an even split, meaning her favorability and unfavorability ratings would be about the same. And even though the president remains unpopular nationally, this state is several points more Democratic than Alaska, Arkansas, or Louisiana, three states where Democratic incumbents with deeper roots and better reputations as campaigners are in more trouble than Hagan is at the moment. President Obama’s not the drag here that he is in those states, though he is still a drag.

For all these reasons, we’re moving North Carolina from Toss-up to Leans Democratic.

We may be getting ahead of ourselves here. Remember: Hagan is really only at 45% or so, and even though there is a Libertarian in the race, Sean Haugh, who can pull votes from Tillis, his share of the vote appears to be decreasing from the high-single digits to the mid-single digits. Tillis still absolutely has a path to victory, but he seems stuck at the moment.[…]

7 thoughts on “#NCSEN: Sabato says race “Leans Democrat,” Tillis “stuck”

  1. Attention, Karl Rove, Chamber of Commerce, and all RINOs ~ pick up the red flashing “You’ve Got Some Explaining To Do” phone, IMMEDIATELY!

  2. Mickey Kaus probably the number 1 journalist on amnesty has put Tillis and Sullivan(Alaska) in the feeble crowd in the 8 amnesty races for the Senate.

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/18/a-referendum-on-amnesty/

    “It’s a central issue of the campaigns in six states — Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire. In two others, Republican challengers are making somewhat more feeble anti-amnesty stands — North Carolina (where the GOP candidate, Tom Tillis, has suspect anti-amnesty credentials) and Alaska.”

  3. Tillis is getting killed by negative advertising that had a running start with 2 years of ‘moral Mondays’ and drive-by media coverage to drive-up his numbers. This was SUPPOSED to be counteracted by the BIG WASHINGTON $$$$ (TM) that Rove, et al. were going to bring to bear. Where are all the Tillis ads? Where is the big Washington $$$$? It better come in, because they ran a candidate with a strategy to let Obama’s numbers drag the opponent down, but no particular enthusiasm behind him except ‘electability’. Guess what? Electability doesn’t make the little folks write you a check. Principles do. Hope Tillis has enough BIG WASHINGTON $$$$$ (TM) to make up for it.

    1. Agree on Moral Mondays and their effectiveness. Many thought that they were a joke but I think the constant battering of the NC General Assembly hit the mark. The Democrats found a cheap way to campaign and kept it up for a long time. Moral Mondays chipped away at the GOP over a long period of time and I think they did most of the damage against Tillis and the entire GOP. I have seen many ads slamming Tillis but only one from Tillis about Hagan. That was the ad that talks about the VA and I don’t think that will change many votes.

  4. It seems to me that Tillis DOES have a path to victory if he would only do two things…..hammer Hagan for the cardinal sin of not listening to the people at the time of her Obamacare vote, but more importantly link her constantly to Obama. But he doesn’t seem inclined to do so.

    I picked up a copy of the Carolinian this evening (for those unaware, it’s THE African-American newspaper of central NC) and they were predicting a lack of AA turnout for Hagan if she keeps distancing herself from Obama. They reported that the African-American community was absolutely fuming over her disrespect (their words, not mine) to the President just before he arrived to address the Legion convention in Charlotte.

    If Tillis woulld hammer her non-stop about Obama, she’d either have to keep up her own criticisms of Obama (and further alienate African-Americans) or let the attacks go unanswered which could quickly send her general poll numbers into decline.

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