Poll: Hagan continues to slide in eyes of NC voters

Posted March 3, 2014

Sen. Kay Hagan, flanked by campaign staffer Sadie Weiner, leaves the N.C. Board of Elections office on Feb. 24, 2014, after filing to run for re-election.

— While President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr all saw slight improvements in voters' rating of their job performance in the latest Elon University Poll, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan continued a year-long slide.

Elon pollsters surveyed 925 registered voters statewide Feb. 23-26 and also found that, despite national trends, a majority of North Carolinians still oppose gay marriage and legalized marijuana. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.22 percentage points.

Forty-nine percent of respondents disapprove of Hagan's job performance, while 33 percent gave her a thumbs-up, according to the poll. It is her lowest approval number in the past year and includes erosion among registered Democrats – down from 63 percent in November to 55 percent – and women – from 40 percent in November to 33 percent.

"Kay Hagan’s slight drop in approval rating would not necessarily be a concern by itself. However, this is the fourth straight fall in a year, and this last decline occurred when many elected counterparts saw increases in approval ratings," Jason Husser, assistant director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. "The trend suggests the senator will face a tougher-than-expected re-election battle this November.”

Hagan has been hammered in recent months by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has aired television ads criticizing her support of the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-two percent of respondents in Elon's latest poll said they thought the federal law would make health care worse in the U.S., compared with 30 percent who said it would improve care.

Eight Republicans are vying for the chance to face Hagan in November. State House Speaker Thom Tillis is seen by most observers as the leading candidate, but 59 percent of those surveyed by Elon still don't recognize his name. Of those familiar with Tillis, only 18 percent have a favorable opinion of him. Thirty-four percent have a negative opinion, and the rest don't feel strongly one way or the other.

Outside of Hagan, top political figures fared slightly better in voters' eyes.

Obama's approval rating rose from 37 percent in November to 39 percent, while McCrory's went from 33 percent to 36 percent. Burr, who isn't up for re-election this year, has the same 33 percent approval rating as Hagan, but the numbers who disapprove of his job performance is much lower, at 32 percent.

On issues that Elon surveyed, 51 percent of respondents said they oppose gay marriage, and a similar number are against legalizing marijuana use in North Carolina.

“Trends in various national public opinion polls seem to suggest growing support for gay marriage. Our recent survey seems to suggest the opposite dynamic in North Carolina. Opposition to same-sex marriage has increased slightly since last September,” Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement.


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  • officebox Mar 6, 2014

    I like the ability to question authority - which is what I respect about the tea party. I guess the older I get, the more libertarian I get... don't tell me I have to wear a seatbelt, let me decide, etc. I remember when "question authority" was a good thing. People seem to have abandoned that for "bend over and grab your ankles." That's what I admire about the Tea Party. They are attempting to fight back, to get people to listen. I really haven't seen that happen in the Dem Party. I remember Ralph Nader running as the Green Candidate, and the NAP, but they never really gained traction. I think most of us feel powerless with the government and seeing something like the Tea Party rise up gives me hope for change.

  • goldenosprey Mar 6, 2014

    I beg to differ officebox. It is hard to wedge the word "inclusive" in the same sentence with "republican." If anyone is inclusive, it is the democrats, who count rightwing anti-Obama activist Mike McIntyre in their tent. There was a time when dems were progressive. Now, many of them have abandoned progressive ideals to cast their lot in with corporate interests. Kay Hagan is a moderate who sided with the rightwingers on Keystone XL, which will bring no benefit to NC, and slapped Obama in the face with her support of McCain's Go to War With Iran Bill.

    Still better than the ALEC mouthpiece and rightwing loonies competing for her job.

  • officebox Mar 6, 2014

    I have to comment here on the Tea Party since that seems to always crop up. I kind of respect the Tea Party for sticking to their principles and winning some contests. I also admire the inclusiveness of the Republican Party that creates an environment where a party that questions them can form within the party. There are pro-choice and pro-life republicans, gay and straight republicans, pro and anti immigration reform republicans. You don't see that in the Democrat Party. Just ask Gov Bob Casey from PA who was prevented from speaking at the convention in the past because he was pro-life. The Democrat Party has a whole checklist of things you have to be before they will support your candidacy. They allow for no individuality. I think people are a little more complex than that and can and should have their own opinions, instead of being told what to believe.

  • Charlie Watkins Mar 6, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Probably right. By the time the Tea Party nutcases finish tearing down the Republican Party the election will be over and Kay back to the Senate. The Republicans would rather fight among themselves that field the best candidate to defeat Kay. I am beginning to wonder if the GOP will ever win again.

  • goldenosprey Mar 6, 2014

    While Kay H lacks an excited base, when voters find their choice is Kay or Thom Tillis (R-Fl), Kay will coast into another term.

  • Charlie Watkins Mar 6, 2014
    user avatar

    Not too many people seem to be excited about Kay's campaign. But on the other hand the Republicans have excitement coming from the last remnants of the Tea Party nutcases who are trying to deny the nomination to Tillis. The only interesting thing of the whole race will be to see how crazy the Tea Party crowd is willing to get.

  • notexactly Mar 5, 2014


    Um I do look out for my children ( without the gov cheez. If all did we would have this problem would we? I just don't like the fact I have to keep looking out for more and more children every year, while my income keeps getting hit with taxes to do it. What about my family? What about every dollar I get taken from me is one I could LOOK OUT after my children with? See it don't sound to good like that does it?

  • McLovin Mar 5, 2014

    bye bye kay...

  • notexactly Mar 5, 2014

    familyand America

    Um you kinda did the normal lib thing and took my comment out of context. I am not referring to the truly disabled and the truly poor and the retirees. But that is how you guys spin things. I am talking of the rampant fraud in all the free systems we have now.

  • Charlie Watkins Mar 5, 2014
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    North Carolina will be the envy of the nation when we have Senator Burr and Senator Tillis as our two Senators, both conservative stalwarts who love North Carolina, freedom and believe in our citizens.