Elon, N.C. — Candidates seeking the North Carolina seat in the U.S. Senate up for grabs in 2014 may want to keep a low profile over the next year.
An Elon University Poll released Friday shows that few people know the three major Republican candidates for the seat, now held by Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, and those who do don't generally like them.
House Speaker Thom Tillis had the greatest name recognition in the GOP field at 28 percent, compared with 17 percent for Rev. Mark Harris, the former president of the State Baptist Convention, and 10 percent for Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon.
But 32 percent of those who are familiar with Tillis said they have an unfavorable opinion of him, compared with 19 percent who have a favorable opinion. Harris had much better results, with 25 percent favorable and 18 percent unfavorable, while Brannon, a tea party candidate, had 27 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable.
Bill Flynn, a talk radio host from Forsyth County, and Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant also plan to run in the Republican primary for Senate.
Meanwhile, Hagan's approval ratings have been sliding in recent months, from about 40 percent in an Elon poll conducted in April to 37 percent in the latest poll. The percentage of people who disapprove of her job performance has jumped from about 32 percent to 43 percent in that time.
Elon interviewed 681 registered voters statewide Nov. 15-18, and the margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 3.76 percentage points.