Incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, is polling 2 percentage points ahead of her challenger, Republican North Carolina General Assembly Speaker Thom Tillis, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY survey released Wednesday. The 2-point lead is the same as her edge in a similar poll taken in August, and some Democrats are seeing her stable yet small lead as a good sign as the Nov. 4 general election nears.
The North Carolina Senate race is being watched closely as one of the tightest in the country. Hagan and Tillis tied at 45 percent at first, but Hagan pulled ahead to 47 percent when undecided respondents were asked to declare who they'd vote for if they, hypothetically, had to cast a ballot on Wednesday. Her lead did remain within the margin of error for the poll.
“Both candidates are benefiting from a coalescing of their respective demographic bases,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, said in a statement. “Now that voters see the reality of an election in four weeks, they are coming home to the candidates who share their values and vision for the next six years.”
Hagan led among women polled 52 percent to 38 percent, while Tillis led 53 percent to 38 percent among male respondents. Hagan was ahead with voters who identified education and health care as the most important issues facing Congress, while Tillis led among voters who thought the budget and foreign policy are the most important issues.