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Hagan gains on Tillis, Haugh holds steady

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On June 17, Public Policy Polling released a poll of the 2014 US Senate race in North Carolina. Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan has gained on Republican Thom Tillis since last month, leading him 42 percent to 38 percent with 20 percent unsure.

But when Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh is named as a choice, he still gets 11 percent of the vote, with Hagan at 39 percent, Tillis at 34 percent, and 16 percent unsure.

Delving deeper into the poll results, we find that Haugh wins the support of 8 percent of Republican voters, 9 percent of Democratic voters, and 19 percent of independent/other voters. A figure for Libertarian voters only was not given. Haugh has gained 3 percentage points with independent/other voters and lost 1 percentage point with Republican voters since last month.

Gender information was included in the poll. Women go 39 percent Hagan, 29 percent Tillis, 12 percent Haugh. Men go 39 percent Hagan, 39 percent Tillis, 10 percent Haugh. Haugh is stronger with women than with men, but Tillis has the greatest percent difference with respect to gender of any candidate (29.41 percent to Haugh's 18.18 percent and Hagan's 0 percent.)

Race was also included in the poll, as White, African-American, or Other. Whites go 41 percent Tillis, 32 percent Hagan, 12 percent Haugh. African-Americans go 67 percent Hagan, 8 percent Haugh, 6 percent Tillis. Others go 37 percent Tillis, 34 percent Hagan, 9 percent Haugh. Race clearly plays a role for the Republican and Democratic candidates, with Haugh doing reasonably well among all races.

The age of the respondents were grouped into 18-29, 30-45, 46-65, and 66+. Among 18-to-29-year-olds, Hagan has 46 percent, Tillis has 21 percent, and Haugh has 17 percent. Among 30-to-45-year-olds, Hagan has 34 percent, Tillis has 32 percent, and Haugh has 11 percent. Among 46-to-65-year-olds, Hagan has 39 percent, Tillis has 37 percent, and Haugh has 10 percent. Among people aged 66 or older, Hagan has 40 percent, Tillis has 38 percent, and Haugh has 9 percent. Like most Libertarian candidates, Haugh performs exceptionally well among voters younger than 30, but also has unusually strong appeal for older voters. While Haugh lost ground with voters aged 30-45, he gained support with voters over 45.

The ideologies of the respondents were grouped as very liberal, somewhat liberal, moderate, somewhat conservative, and very conservative. Among very liberal respondents, Hagan has 79 percent, Haugh has 10 percent, and Tillis has 6 percent. Among somewhat liberal respondents, Hagan has 75 percent, Haugh has 6 percent, and Tillis has 6 percent. Among moderate respondents, Hagan has 46 percent, Tillis has 18 percent, and Haugh has 13 percent. Among somewhat conservative respondents, Tillis has 56 percent, Hagan has 16 percent, and Haugh has 13 percent. Among very conservative respondents, Tillis has 71 percent, Haugh has 9 percent, and Hagan has 2 percent. As most Libertarian candidates do, Haugh has higher numbers from conservatives than from liberals, but picks up a significant amount of protest votes from disaffected Democrats.

The Libertarian Party is the only third party with a candidate running in the 2014 US Senate race in North Carolina, perhaps because it is the only third party that has been able to meet the strict ballot access requirements in North Carolina.

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