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North Carolina on the issues

We polled North Carolinians on the issues of the day.

* Statewide support for gay marriage? Not so fast. 50% of likely voters oppose it vs. 38%.

* In September, it was dramatically different: 45% supported same-sex marriage & 43% opposed.

* The gay marriage numbers may explain the GOP leadership’s continued legal fight on that front.

* 57% of likely voters who oppose gay marriage support Tillis to 28% for Hagan.

* 69% of likely voters support showing a photo ID to vote.

* 91% of opponents of the voter ID law support Hagan.

* For our third consecutive polling cycle, more people prefer making abortion access less difficult, 46% to 41%.

* 71% of likely voters who prefer fewer restrictions on abortion support Hagan.

* 43% of likely voters said the United States should use air strikes AND ground troops in Iraq & Syria.

* Of the 43%, most were more likely to vote for Tillis, 64%, vs. 23% for Hagan.

* 33% said air strikes only in Iraq & Syria; 15% said no military action.

* Most N.C. residents are cautious about Ebola, but not panicked.

* On Ebola, college grads see a much smaller risk of Ebola outbreak than high school grads.

Sen. Kay Hagan leads Thom Tillis

We released a poll yesterday. Here are the headlines pertaining to the N.C. Senate race:

* Among likely voters, it’s close: Hagan, 44.7% – Tillis, 40.7%.

* Among registered voters, it’s wider: Hagan, 44.8% — Tillis, 37.5%.

* Among all residents, it’s wider still: Hagan, 43.5%; Tillis, 35.5%.

* The likely voter results mirror our September results when Hagan had a 4.1- point lead.

* 52% of women said they plan to vote for Hagan vs. 34% for Tillis.

* 48% of men said they plan to vote for Tillis vs. 38% for Hagan.

* 80% of single women said they are likely to vote for Hagan.

* These percentages on gender voting preference are nearly unchanged from our September poll. 

* If you voted for Obama in 2012, you’re likely a Hagan supporter (87%).

* If you voted for Romney in 2012, you’re likely a Tillis suppoprter (81%).

* Despite the millions of dollars spend on campaign ads not many people have moved.

* Among likely voters, 12.9% say they “don’t know” or will vote for “someone else.”

* Among residents, 19.6% say they “don’t know” or will vote for “someone else.”

* Of the likely voters who said they were undecided, most were moderates.

* Of the likely voters who said they were undecided, twice as many were Dems.

* Bad news for Libertarian Sean Haugh. Only 6 likely voters mentioned him. (6 voters, not 6%)

* No GOP likely voter mentioned Libertarian Sean Haugh. Possibly bad news for Hagan.

Elon Poll in the news

We released a new poll today. Some media coverage:

The Charlotte Observer — A new Elon University Poll shows Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan with an edge over Republican Thom Tillis.

Talking About Politics — “If you’re tired of ads, tired of contradictory punditry and tired of conflicting, confusing and cooked-up polls, here’s a prescription for sanity: Take a dose of the Elon University poll. A warning about side effects: It will calm Democrats and give Republicans heartburn. (Hagan is up 45-41.)That aside, it gives you as clear, comprehensive and unbiased a look at the North Carolina electorate right now as you’re going to get.

News & Record — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holds a steady lead over her Republican challenger with Election Day just days away, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Burlington Times News — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan leads Republican challenger and state House Speaker Thom Tillis as the 2014 campaign enters its final days, according to a new Elon University poll released on Thursday.

TWC News — (Video) An Elon University poll released Thursday morning shows Sen. Kay Hagan has a slight edge over her Republican challenger Thom Tillis.

MSNBC — With only days to go, the polls are tightening and the news isn’t looking good for Democrats as they try to hang on to the Senate. The one ray of sunshine for Democrats is in North Carolina where a new Elon University poll shows Sen. Kay Hagan with a 4 point lead over Republican Thom Tillis, thanks to a big edge among women voters.

CNN — The battle for control of Congress is entering a final, frantic five-day stretch that favors Republicans but has room for plenty of surprises that could determine which party will run the Senate.

WBTV — A new Elon University poll gives Democrat Kay Hagan a slight edge over Republican Thom Tillis, but two other polls released this week show them neck-in-neck. “Have you got a coin?” asks political analyst Michael Bitzer. “Because at this point the polls, everything seems to be indicating this could be a long night next Tuesday.

FoxNews — After eight years in the proverbial wilderness, Republicans are feeling confident about their chances of reclaiming the Senate majority in next week’s elections – as the two-year, bare-knuckle battle boils down to about 10 key races in the final days.

Breitbart — While other recent polls have the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina at a virtual tie, Thursday morning brought dueling polls, one showing Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) with a slight lead and another showing her Republican challenger state House Speaker Thom Tillis also with a slight lead. A Elon University Poll taken Oct. 21-25 and released Thursday has Hagan with a 4 percent leaded and a poll from the Republican group Vox Populi taken Oct. 25-27 also released Thursday has Tillis with a 5 percentage point lead.

The Week — Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) has a slight edge in one of the most closely-watched Senate elections of this midterm cycle, according to an Elon University poll released Thursday.

The Voter Update — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is clinging to a four-point lead over Republican N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis with less than a week left in this year’s election, according tonew results from the Elon University Poll.

Elon Poll in the news

Reporters are beginning to dig deeper into Monday’s poll results.

* Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer used the poll results to highlight something other than the N.C. Senate horse race. He compared and contrasted the two candidates’ positions on international affairs.

“When Elon University asked N.C. voters to name the most important issue facing the country, nothing ranked higher than defense and foreign affairs. The poll was released Monday.

“’It doesn’t seem to be an issue that’s going to disappear,” said Elon Poll director Kenneth Fernandez.”‘

* The NAACP has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections, saying that Sen. Phil Berger’s television ad supporting voter ID is misleading. From the News & Observer: “Berger was not available for comment, but Ray Martin, the political director for the Senate Caucus, emailed this statement: ‘It is outrageous that William Barber and the NAACP are asking government regulators to suppress Senator Berger’s First Amendment rights and silence his campaign’s message to voters regarding Photo ID.’

“An Elon Poll released Monday showed that more than 72 percent of North Carolinians support showing a photo ID when voting.”

* Many news outlets have used the poll to focus on the gender gap in the Senate race. Among women, Sen. Kay Hagan has a 52%-33% lead over House Speaker Thom Tillis. Tillis has a 12-point advantage among men.

Elon Poll in the news

Links to coverage of today’s poll release.

Burlington Times-News — “The Elon University poll has found Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan leading Republican challenger Thom Tillis, speaker of the N.C. House, 45 to 41 percent among likely voters, though the lead is close to the poll’s margin of error.”

Burlington did a second article about all of the other issues in the poll. “Elections are not just about candidates; they are about issues,” said Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll. Fernandez said supporters of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis “are deeply divided over a number of issues, including education, voter identification, abortion, Obamacare and foreign policy. Voter turnout in November is going to be driven by these issues.”

Time Warner News — “When it comes to winning one key demographic in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, political observers say women are essential. ‘You start to see in the recent decades that women are turning out at higher rates than men,’ said Kenneth Fernandez with Elon University. ‘So they are a larger portion of the electorate.’”

Greensboro News & Record — “Sen. Kay Hagan has a four-point lead over state Rep. Thom Tillis in the race for Hagan’s U.S. Senate seat.”

High Point Enterprise — “Two polls released Monday show that Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leads Republican challenger Thom Tillis, with High Point University’s first poll on the race set to be released early next week.”

USA Today — “In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan has about a 4-point lead among likely voters over challenger Thom Tillis in a new Elon University poll. That’s within the survey’s margin of error. But Hagan has a 52%-33% lead over Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, among women while Tillis has a 12-point advantage among men.”

Raleigh News & Observer — “Of all the numbers released Monday in another new U.S. Senate race poll, the gap between men and women is the most striking: a 19 percent difference in point of view.”

WRAL — “The Elon poll gives Tillis a 50 to 38 percent advantage among male voters, while Hagan leads 52 to 33 percent among female voters. ‘National polls have suggested the gender gap in voting is narrowing,’ Jason Husser, assistant director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. ‘That isn’t the case in North Carolina.'”

WTVD — “Gender politics is front and center in the senate race between Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis. A new Elon poll shows Hagan holding a small lead over Tillis (45-41). However, the poll also finds Hagan pulling 52-percent of the female vote, a 19 point advantage among likely women voters.”

The Associated Press — “A survey of North Carolina likely voters shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis roughly two months from Election Day.”

Reuters —  “U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is leading her Republican challenger among likely voters in North Carolina, two polls showed on Monday, the latest shift in a race that could help decide which party controls the chamber.” (Same story in Huffington Post.)

Fox — “With 50 days until Election Day, Speaker of the North Carolina House Thom Tillis is playing catchup to incumbent Senator Kay Hagan.”

WUNC — “A poll released by Elon University gives Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan a four-point lead over her Republican challenger, state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.”

Charlotte Business Journal — “A newly released Elon University Poll found McCrory recovering confidence among voters. His approval rating improved to 41 percent, up from 35 percent in April. Results come from a survey of 1,100 residents Sept. 5-9, with a plus-or-minus margin of 3 percentage points. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan leads House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) by four points, 45 to 41, in the same poll.”

Roll Call — “Republicans must pick up a net of six seats to gain control of the Senate, and the Tar Heel Senate race is one of their top targets in the midterms. Hagan has held a narrow edge in most polls over the past two months.”

WFAE — “Just recently, an Elon University Poll found that Hagan was pulling 52 percent of the female vote, while Tillis was pulling 50 percent of the male vote. Another poll byAmerican Insights had Hagan winning both gender blocks, albeit by larger numbers among women (plus 13 percent, 44-31) than men (plus 4, or 41-37). ”

LGBTQNation — “A new poll shows support for LGBT marriage equality rising in North Carolina, a little more than two years after the state passed its anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. An Elon University Poll surveyed more than 1,000 North Carolinians and found that 45 percent support gay marriage. Opposition stood at 43 percent. Twelve percent of respondents said they didn’t know or had no opinion.”

The Washington Times — “Two new polls show incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina with an edge over Republican challenger Thom Tillis in a race that will play a crucial role in determining which party controls the U.S. Senate after November.”

Charlotte Observer

North Carolina on the issues

We always ask about issues in the news in our polls. Here are some of the results from our latest poll.

* Only 24% of likely voters – 1 in 4 — think the country is on the right track.

* For the first time in years, the most important issue to N.C. likely voters is international affairs/defense. Usually the economy is No. 1. It dropped to second, followed by education, jobs & government.

* Looking at “likely voters” vs. “all residents,” the two issues that “all residents” ranked higher than “likely voters” were jobs and healthcare.

* For first time in our polling, more N.C. likely voters said they support same-sex marriage than oppose — 45%-42%.

* Voter ID still has huge support among N.C.’s likely voters, 68%-29%. Total residents support it even more, 72-26.

* 49% of likely voters think Obamacare will healthcare worse; 34.5% think it will improve it.

* 50% of likely voters consider immigrants a benefit; 37% call them a burden.

* 45% of likely voters think abortions should be less difficult to get; 39% said abortions should be more difficult to get.


North Carolina: Who are you?

Breaking down our poll results by how people describe themselves is always interesting and fun. Here is what they told us.

* Among likely NC voters, 21% said they are liberal, 28% moderate & 38% conservative. Among residents, 20% said they are liberal, 26% moderate & 33% conservative.

* On attending religious services: 27% said never, 29% said every week, 15% almost every week.

* 82% said they are Christian, .5% Jewish, 6% something else & 10% not religious.

* 55% of those who never attend religious services plan to vote for Sen. Kay Hagan. 

* 47% of those who attend church every week plan to vote for House speaker Thom Tillis; 40% for Hagan.

* 78% who said they aren’t religious plan to vote for Hagan; 11% for Tillis.

* Hagan wins the 18-40-year-old vote; Tillis gets 41-50 & 65+ vote.

* 67% of those who approve of Gov. Pat McCrory’s performance plan to vote for Tillis; 22% for Hagan

* 67% of those who support gay marriage plan to vote for Hagan; 21% for Tillis

* 54% of those who think the country is on the wrong track plan to vote for Tillis; 30% for Hagan

* 83% of those who think the country is on the right track plan to vote for Hagan; 9% for Tillis



Who do N.C. voters approve of? Not many

Every time we poll, we ask North Carolinians whether they approve or disapprove of various politicians and political bodies. These days, disapproval wins in every time, but one.

* 54% of likely voters in North Carolina disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.  (38% approve.)

* 51% of likely voters in North Carolina disapprove of Sen. Kay Hagan’s job performance. (41% approve.)

* 44% of likely voters in North Carolina disapprove of Gov. Pat McCrory’s job performance. (43% approve.)

* 54% of likely voters in North Carolina disapprove of the General Assembly’s job performance. (31% approve.)

* 83% of likely voters in North Carolina disapprove of Congress’ job performance. (10% approve.)

The one outlier? The one who isn’t running for re-election: Sen. Richard Burr. 37% APProve of his job performance while 32% disapprove.

Hagan leads Tillis

We released a new poll this morning. The news release is here. The long version with demographic breakdowns here.

The major headline is that Sen. Kay Hagan is leading N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis among likely voters, 45%-41%. The lead, however, is within the margin of error.

But there are other tidbits:

* As many as 14% of likely voters are in play.

More women support Hagan, 52%-33%, particularly the single & divorced. More men support Tillis, 50%-38%, particularly those married.

* 85% of African-Americans said they plan to vote for Hagan; 51% of whites support Tillis.

* 38% of self-described independents plan to vote for Hagan; 27% support Tillis.

* Despite her current lead among likely voters, Hagan’s approval rate is upside-down at 51% DISapproval.

* 24% of Tillis supporters ranked international affairs/defense the most important issue to 16% of Hagan supporters.

* 19% of Tillis supporters ranked the economy as the most important issue to 15% of Hagan supporters.

* 17% of  Hagan supporters ranked jobs as most important issue to 6% of Tillis. supporters.

* 17% of Hagan supporters ranked education as most important issue to 2% of Tillis supporter.

* Only 8% of Hagan’s supporters and 7% of Tillis supporters ranked Obamacare as the most important issue.


Richard Burr’s approval rating

Sen. Richard Burr isn’t running for re-election, which is one reason that registered voters express ambivalence to his job performance.

According to the latest Elon Poll, 32% approve of the job he’s doing, 34% disapprove and 33% don’t know. Those numbers are consistent with our polling in February.

The ambivalence isn’t surprising. As a minority member in the Democratic-majority Senate, Burr isn’t the most visible senator. He rarely speaks with the news media and isn’t out front on many issues.

— John Robinson