Democrats’ $32 Million Attack Backfires in North Carolina, Aiding Tillis’ Rise and Abetting Hagan’s Fall October 29, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 27 8:13 am Tillis Tops List as Most Attacked U.S. Senate Candidate: Recent national news stories have reported that North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Republican
Democrats’ $32 Million Attack Backfires in North Carolina, Aiding Tillis' Rise and Abetting Hagan’s Fall
October 29, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 27 8:13 am
Tillis Tops List as Most Attacked U.S. Senate Candidate: Recent national news stories have reported that North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House Thom Tillis is likely to top the list of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in 2014, with spending in excess of $100 million.
Two-thirds of that $100 million is being spent by national independent groups, with 80% going to negative attack ads. A Washington Post analysis of who is “bearing the brunt of all of that negativity" shows that no candidate in America has had more money spent against them on negative ads than Thom Tillis in North Carolina.
A whopping $32 million has been spent on negative attack ads alone against Tillis.
Unfortunately for Hagan and North Carolina Democrats, the negative barrage of TV ads against Tillis has had two unintended consequences: Hagan’s five-point lead is down to zero; Hagan’s job disapproval is up five points.
Democratic Attack Aiding Tillis’ Rise, Abetting Hagan’s Fall
The latest North Carolina polls clearly show that the Democrats’ $32 million attack has backfired, aiding Thom Tillis' rise in the polls and abetting Hagan’s fall.
The latest NBC News/Marist North Carolina poll, released October 26, shows a tie between Hagan and Tillis at 43% each among likely voters. Here are other key findings:
- Hagan and Tillis are tied at 43% each, down from Hagan’s 44% to 40% in early October.
- Tillis leads Hagan among independents likely to vote.
- Hagan leads among women by 10 points; Tillis among men by 11 points.
- Hagan has a higher negative rating (48% unfavorable) than Tillis (44% unfavorable)
Perhaps the most disconcerting fact for the Hagan camp in the NBC news/Marist North Carolina poll is that education, the #1 topic of attacks against Tillis, is not among the top concerns among North Carolina likely voters in deciding their vote for Congress. The most important concerns are jobs and the economy at 20%, followed by health care (16%) and breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington (15%).
The NBC News/Marist North Carolina results are mirrored in the new High Point University poll released on October 27, 2014. Here are the key findings:
- Hagan in Tillis are tied at 44% each among likely voters.
- Job performance disapproval for Pres. Obama is 55%; Hagan’s job performance disapproval is 52%, and Tillis’ job disapproval is 50%.
- North Carolina likely voters prefer Republicans in congressional races 48% to 43%
Overall, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Hagan’s lead has been cut to +1 point: 43.6% Hagan; 42.6% Tillis. At the beginning of October, before the record-breaking attack on Tillis, Hagan’s Real Clear Politics polling average lead was +4.2%.
Obama’s Disapproval at 56%; Voters want Republicans to Run Country
Midterm elections are typically a referendum on the White House, and this one has lousy job approval numbers on the year’s most important issues like the economy and the threat of ISIS.
In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted October 23-26, seven in 10 Americans have a negative view of the economy and see the country on the wrong track.
- Six in 10 have little or no trust in the federal government to do what’s right.
- 63% of likely voters think government’s ability to solve problems has gotten worse.
- Obama’s job approval is 43%; disapproval among likely voters is 56%.
- There is a 42% to 37% advantage to Republicans for handling the country’s problems.
Midterm elections are also years in which turnout plummets among the traditional Democratic constituencies like African-Americans, young voters and single women. The results of the new ABC news/Washington Post poll indicate a likelihood that this dynamic will continue.
- Although women prefer Democratic congressional candidates by 5-points, men prefer Republican congressional candidates by 17 points.
- Democrats always enjoy a substantial lead among college educated white women. This year, according to the ABC news/Washington Post survey, they are only running even.
- Democrats are losing 57% of white women who lack a college degree.
- Democrats are losing 66% of white men.
The ABC news/Washington Post survey also shows that Republican congressional candidates are preferred among independent voters by 17 points. That’s huge. Although Democrats have a 12-point advantage among moderates, Republicans have a 61 point advantage among conservatives, “who rival moderates in their share of likely voters.”
As to campaign spending, it appears that when all is said and done both camps will have spent a roughly equal amount of the $100+ million invested in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, with two thirds coming from outside independent sources.
As to the ground game, North Carolina Republicans claim to have reached the level of proficiency that gave the Democrats the winning edge in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. If that is true, they will neutralize the Democrats operational advantage and will win most of the close races … including the U.S. Senate race.
We will not know until next Tuesday night whether the North Carolina GOP and their allies like Americans for Prosperity have matched the Democrats’ turnout operation. What we do know today is that the $32 million spent by Democrats on negative attack ads against Tillis has cut Hagan’s five-point lead down to zero, and has driven Hagan’s job disapproval up five points.
Clearly, North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race is trending in Thom Tillis’ favor.
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