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Kay Hagan

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) still leads all the likely challengers in her 2014 re-election battle, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows.

According to the poll released Tuesday, Hagan is up double digits on every Republican polled:

At this point it doesn’t matter who the Republicans put forward though — Kay Hagan has a wide lead over all of them. She’s up 12 on Heather Grant at 48/36, 13 on Jim Cain and Lynn Wheeler at 50/37 and 48/35 respectively, 14 on Mark Harris at 50/36, 15 on Thom Tillis at 51/36, 16 on Greg Brannon at 52/36, and 17 on Phil Berger at 53/36. Hagan is up by at least 16 points with independents in every matchup.

These numbers are relatively unchanged from July, when Hagan held comfortable leads over all her potential rivals.

Hagan’s solid advantage is built largely on Republican ambivalence about the party’s prospective candidates. U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx — who had been the frontrunner, for better or worse — announced in late August that she would not run, leaving a vacuum in the polls — 43 percent of Republicans say they don’t have a preference between the candidates, and none of them register more than 13 percent support. Berger leads the way at 13 percent, followed by Tillis at 12 percent, Cain at 11 percent, Grant at 8 percent, Bannon at 6 percent, Harris at 5 percent, and Wheeler at 2 percent.

Complicating matters for Republicans, their top two candidates are closely associated with the increasingly unpopular state government. Berger is president pro tempore of the state Senate, while Tillis is Speaker of the House. Either would seem an easy target for the moderate Hagan in a statewide campaign.

Tar Heel State Republicans do have some reason for optimism. Just 43 percent approve of Hagan’s job performance, while 39 percent disapprove, and none of the Republican candidates has more than 50 percent name recognition. This suggests that Hagan could be quite vulnerable once Republicans coalesce around a single candidate. Still, given Hagan’s weak approval and North Carolina’s Republican lean, the freshman Democrat should be pleased with her strong standing in this pivotal election.

The full results of the poll can be seen here.

Photo: Third Way via Flickr.com

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