Raleigh, N.C. — Democratic state Rep. Grier Martin of Wake County would run a close race if he were to square off against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole next year, according to a new poll.
Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh group that represents many Democratic clients, including Martin, surveyed 553 likely voters on Monday about a hypothetical race between Dole and Martin. The poll has a 4.2 percent margin of error.
Democrats have had difficulty in fielding a candidate to run against Dole. Gov. Mike Easley and 13th District Congressman Brad Miller have already said they wouldn't enter the race.
Martin and state Sen. Kay Hagan, D-Guilford, have been mentioned as possible candidates for a 2008 Senate run.
Dole leads Martin 43 to 37 percent in the Public Policy poll, and she outdistances Hagan 43 to 27 percent.
Martin was described by pollsters as a “37-year-old, two-term legislator” and “veteran of the War in Afghanistan,” while Hagan was a “five-term state senator” and “chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
“To compensate for the extremely low name recognition of state legislators, we added a short description of Martin and Hagan to the survey,” Public Policy President Dean Debnam said. “Grier Martin, or his profile, does very well against Sen. Dole. If he were to enter the race, he could be even more competitive than other Democrats we have tested.”
A polling firm that works with Dole questioned Public Policy's methodology.
A statewide poll conducted on behalf of Dole's campaign showed she had a 61 percent approval rating, and 59 percent of respondents had favorable impressions of her.
The poll was conducted by Voter Comsumer Research between June 19 and June 21 and included 500 registered voters statewide. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.
In the Public Policy poll, Dole had a 46 percent approval rating in North Carolina, while 40 percent of respondents disapprove of her job performance.
President George W. Bush’s 35 percent approval rating among likely North Carolina voters is the lowest Public Policy has ever measured, Debnam said.