A July survey from Raleigh-based firm Public Policy Polling revealed a potential roadblock to Republican candidate and N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis’ expensive campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.
According to the poll, the N.C. General Assembly carries a 19 percent approval rating — and Mitch Kokai , a political analyst at the right-leaning John Locke Foundation, said the legislature’s poor ratings could spell trouble for Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.
Hagan also commands a significant lead in fundraising. As of June 30, Hagan has about $8.7 million in her campaign’s coffers, while Tillis has about $1.5 million according to the Federal Election Commission.
Kokai said Tillis could benefit from separating himself from the public dissatisfaction with the General Assembly’s short session, which has included tense battles over teacher pay raises and Medicaid reform.
Hagan could be in trouble if Tillis ties widespread voter discontent with President Barack Obama and his administration to Hagan’s campaign, Kokai said.
“One of the key points to keep in mind about Hagan is that her popularity tracks almost all the way with Obama — as Obama goes, so goes Hagan,” he said.
Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer said both candidates are going to have to appeal to their party base rather than to swing voters.
“If you look at both candidates, they’re candidates of political polarization right now,” he said.