Local Politics

WRAL News Poll: Dole holds lead in Senate race

Posted July 17, 2008 8:48 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2008 9:37 p.m. EDT

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole maintains a solid lead over Democratic challenger Kay Hagan, according to a WRAL News poll released Thursday.

Dole leads Hagan 53 percent to 41 percent among North Carolina voters with definite opinions. Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, gains two points when “leaners” are included.

The poll has a margin of error +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Dole’s lead is slightly smaller than last month, when she held a 14-point lead. Hagan was able to pull ahead in May after her victory in the Democratic Primary. Dole, however, took a double-digit lead soon after, when her television ad campaigns began airing.

Dole became the first female senator in the state’s history when she was elected in 2002. She serves on three Senate committees, including the Committee on Armed Services.

Hagan, who is also an attorney, is serving her fifth term in the state Senate.

Dole is supported by 88 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats. Hagan is backed by 71 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of Republicans. Dole has the edge among unaffiliated voters – 53 percent to Hagan’s 37 percent.

Dole also leads among men surveyed – 58 percent to 38 percent. Among female voters, Dole is backed by 50 percent to Hagan’s 44 percent.

Among black voters surveyed, 85 percent supported Hagan and 15 percent backed Dole. Sixty-two percent of white voters supported Dole, and 33 percent were for Hagan.

Dole is viewed favorably by 61 percent and unfavorably by 34 percent of voters in the state. Dole’s favorability rating dropped one point from last month. Fifty-two percent of voters found Hagan favorable – a jump from last month’s 45 percent. Thirty-four percent of voters found Hagan unfavorable.

Also in the poll, 38 percent of voters gave Gov. Mike Easley a good or excellent rating. Twenty-three percent said Easley was doing a poor job.

Rasmussen Reports conducted the poll for WRAL News. Pollsters surveyed 500 likely voters by phone on July 15.