North Carolina U.S. Senate Race Locked in Dead Heat between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis

12 weeks before Election Day, American Insights releases exclusive analysis as signature AI Trend Chart shows candidates deadlocked at 42%.

RALEIGH, NC August 11, 2014 — With 12 weeks to go until Election Day, American Insights (AI) – a North Carolina-based polling and microtargeting firm – is releasing exclusive new analysis on the North Carolina senate race based on recent polling and the latest model-based projections. The AI Trend Chart shows Senator Kay Hagan and Speaker Thom Tillis again tied at 42% with Hagan’s recent lead having evaporated. The new analysis looks at what distinguishes individual polls and how North Carolina fits into the national narrative of Republicans seeking to take control of the U.S. Senate.

American Insights

“With just 12 weeks to go until the mid-term elections, our analysis shows that North Carolina’s Senate race is deadlocked and holds the key to control of the U.S. Senate,” said AI Insights Director Pearce Godwin. “Currently in line as the 6th most likely seat for Republicans to pick up, North Carolina is poised to determine which party controls the United States Senate for the final two years of President Obama’s term. Following a two-month period in which Senator Hagan opened up a lead outside the margin of error, we’re now right back where we’ve been for most of the year, in a jump ball contest down the home stretch.”

Below are highlights of the complete analysis.

  • Senate control most likely comes down to the seven Democrat-held seats currently rated as toss ups by the Cook Political Report: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan and North Carolina.
  • Arkansas is the most likely Republican pickup among the toss ups followed by Louisiana, North Carolina, Iowa, Alaska and Colorado.
  • North Carolina, as 6th most likely pickup, would hand Republicans their 51st seat and majority control of the Senate.
  • The NYT Upshot model currently gives Republicans a 53% chance of winning the majority, while Nate Silver pegs the probability at 60%.
  • Upshot gives Senator Hagan a 53% chance of holding her seat, while Silver puts even-money odds on NC at 50-50.
  • AI Trend Chart last showed the candidates tied two months ago, June 8th, but they had polled steadily within a three-point margin of error since the beginning of 2014.
  • Over the last two months, Senator Hagan ran ahead to the largest lead of the year according to the polls. On July 20th, the AI Trend Chart gave Hagan a six-point advantage at 41-35.
  • AI Trend Chart is now tied at 42%.
  • HuffPost Pollster gives Hagan a 0.9 percent lead, while the Real Clear Politics average stands at Tillis +1.3.
  • Two of the three most recent polls chose not to include Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh. The third, Civitas, asked the senate ballot with and without Haugh.
  • It’s clear that including the third-party candidate in polling makes a difference.
  • A healthy dose of skepticism is in order when looking at Haugh’s current poll numbers, 8% in the AI Trend Chart.
  • No Libertarian candidate in North Carolina has received more than 3.3 percent of the vote in a U.S. Senate race since 1992. Haugh also ran in 2002, garnering just 1.5 percent of the vote.
  • The chance that Haugh will earn a vote share in the upper single digits is very low, but his presence on the ballot does have the potential to swing a very close election and is certainly affecting the polling at this point in the race.
  • Use of unconventional online panel polling by the New York Times has generated heavy criticism due to its inherent methodological constraints.
  • American Insights employs a mixed mode “triple helix” methodology incorporating landline, cell phone and online respondents.
  • Historically low response rates have handicapped the efficacy and statistical value of conventional methods in survey research.
  • Expect to see money, messages and media, along with polling, flood into North Carolina over the coming weeks as the fight for control of the United States Senate plays out in our backyard.

Read the complete analysis.

American Insights takes the pulse of North Carolinians to determine where they stand on key topics including politics, public policy, business and cultural issues. The firm’s website –AmericanInsights.org – serves as a hub for data and intelligence on topics of interest, featuring exclusive AI Trend Charts, which aggregate all North Carolina polling data on key topics, providing a one-stop snapshot of current trends in the state.

Follow @AmericanInsight on Twitter for the latest updates from the AI Team

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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