As media outlets around the nation have reported, Sen. Kay Hagan is facing some, shall we say, challenges in her re-election bid. Let’s count them:
* Her job approval rate is 35%, according to the latest Elon Poll. It was 33% in February.
* Her job DISapproval rate is 47%, unchanged from February, leaving her in the precarious position of being what the pundits call upside down.
* She voted for Obamacare, and 47% of respondents to the poll said that support would make them less likely to vote for her. 36% said it would make it more likely they would vote for her.
* Looking at the reasons that people gave for disapproving of her job performance are telling: 14% cited Obamacare; 13% a general disagreement of her politics; 8% too close to Obama; 7% a liberal Democrat; and 6% said she doesn’t represent the state’s interests. (Worth noting it was a small sample size.) She can change none of these.
* Most people have seen television ads about Hagan, and most deemed the ads negative. (Worth noting that her leading opponent, Thom Tillis, is advertising heavily in advance of next week’s GOP primary and she is his main target. Hagan has done little advertising until a national Democratic group dropped an ad attacking Tillis last week.)
She does have some campaign advantages. Of those respondents who gave her a favorable approval rating, 19% said she does a good job; 12% said she works for the average person; 8% said they agree with her politics; 6% credit her support for Obamacare.
Digging into the numbers:
Politics — Partisanship solidifies. She has the approval of 60% of Democrats, 31% of Independents and 6% of Republicans. Since February, she has won back support from Democrats (55% then) and lost among Republicans (13%).
Gender: She’s slowly winning back female support, which dropped in February. 33% of men and 36% of women approve of her work. (In February, 33% of women approved and in November, 40% of women had her back. To survive in November, she must have strong support from her core constituency.
Race: 50% of African Americans approve of her, a 7 percentage point drop from February. 29% of whites do, a 3 percentage point gain.
Age: Her greatest support is in the 65+ age group at 45%. Her least support is in the 41-50 age group at 28%. An area of concern must be the 18-30 age group. Her support there dropped from 40% in February to 29% last month.
Hagan has six months to mount her campaign. Many national polls say that people’s views on Obamacare have solidified and will not change. If she is to win, she must find a way to embrace the benefits of the plan or distance herself from her support of it. And she must find a way to make sure her natural constituencies — Democrats, youth and women — get to the polls.
– John Robinson