October 31st, 2008
02:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Democrats gaining ground in crucial Senate race

Dole's chances of holding onto her Senate seat look precarious.
Dole's chances of holding onto her Senate seat look precarious.

(CNN) - If the Democrats reach their goal of capturing 60 seats in the Senate, North Carolina may be a major reason why.

Freshman Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole is trailing her Democratic opponent, Kay Hagan, by nine points, 53 percent to 44 percent, a new CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday suggests. Hagan had a smaller lead in other recent polls in North Carolina.

An already bitter contest turned uglier this week, when an ad by Dole's campaign suggested Hagan was "godless." The Dole campaign says it based its charge on Hagan's attendance at a fundraiser in the home of an advisor to the Godless Americans' political action committee, a group that promotes rights for atheists.

Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, returned fire, saying she was "absolutely appalled" by the ad, calling it "politics of the worst kind." She also filed a lawsuit to prevent the ad from running.

The poll in North Carolina was conducted before Dole's campaign commercial began airing.

Other factors - such as Dole's age - may favor the challenger, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

"Dole's age has been an undercurent in this race, and our poll shows that she is winning among older voters by six points," he said. "But Hagan has a 13-point edge among voters under the age of 50, and that seems to be one major reason why Dole appears to be in trouble."

Dole is 72.

The Democrats' goal is to capture 60 seats in the Senate. That's the number of votes needed to break a filibuster, a move used in the Senate by the minority party to stall and defeat legislation.

The Democrats currently control 49 seats in the Senate. The chamber's two independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, are allied with the Democrats, giving the party a narrow 51-to-49 advantage and control of the Senate.

Another state the Democrats are targeting is Colorado, where the incumbent Republican Senator, Wayne Allard, is retiring.

The new poll suggests that the Democratic candidate, Mark Udall, holds a 10-point lead, 53 percent to 43 percent, over his Republican rival, Bob Schaffer.

Virginia is another state where the incumbent Republican Senator, John Warner, is retiring. Two former governors, Democrat Mark Warner (no relation to John) and Republican James Gilmore, are fighting for the seat. But the new poll suggests the this race is far from even. The survey indicates Warner holds a 28-point lead, 63 percent to 35 percent, over Gilmore.

Georgia is another state, like North Carolina, where the incumbent freshman Republican Senator, Saxby Chambliss, is fighting for his political life.

But the poll suggests he's faring much better than Elizabeth Dole. Chambliss holds a 9-point lead in the survey, 53 percent to 44 percent, over Jim Martin, his Democratic opponent.

The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation surveys were conducted October 23-28, with 667 likely voters in North Carolina, 774 likely voters in Colorado, 721 likely voters in Virginia, and 690 likely voters in Georgia questioned by telephone.

The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Colorado, Georgia and Virginia and plus or minus 4 percentage points in North Carolina.


Filed under: Kay Hagan
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. Maggie B

    Good on Hagan for launching a lawsuit. Voters, send a message on November 4th that this type of divisive campaigning is not acceptable!

    October 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Cheryl

    "Liddy" and Gov. Sarah Air-Head both sent packing in four days, folks. Christmas in November is a-comin'!

    October 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. KD

    As a veteran and a christian, I'm outraged that Dole would bear false witness against another christian. The GOP and far right have gone so far out there with the lies, the nastiness, and trying to suppress the vote that, they are no longer following the teachings of Christ.

    October 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. AD

    This made my day. .

    North Carolina is lookin' blue from here!

    October 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Greed is not good

    I hope Dole gets routed and sent home packing. What a phony, cheesy smile.

    October 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Jan, Knoxville, TN

    Elizabeth Dole doesn't deserve to be re-elected. That religion stunt she pulled against her opponent is appalling. Time to go home to Bob!

    October 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. She's-a-singing now

    Sad how a once powerful political party has been reduced to rubble by it's own excesses. Oh well.

    October 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. mouli

    Elizabeth Dole, John McCain, Sarah Palin – in no particular order have squarely put the face of the republican party to the front and core of what they have to offer.

    It is amazing how someone with a straight smiling face can be so shameless to dupe, lie and stoop to the lowest level possible.

    To top it all, it is shocking to see some % of voters are still flocking to their camp.

    Unnoticed in the election fever, is the pitch to push more deregulations before Bush leaves office. We are indeed in perilous times. Bush wants to leave a lethal legacy for the country even after all the damage he has done and McCain will take mantle from there on.

    October 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Jaime

    Drs Dole seems to forget that there is a separation of Church and State, as stated in the Constitution that Congress shall not legislate with respect to any religion. If she cannot master that, how can she be a legislator? Besides, the Constitution guarantees freedoms for us, and not having a religion or not believing in a God is one of those freedoms.

    October 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Bryan - Godless too

    Why is it that politicians feel that religion is such a big issue? I would contend that all politicians should be Atheists. That would be the best application of the principle of Church and State separation. Wouldn't it?

    October 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. barbara miller

    Elizabeth – this is what happens when you try to scare the people instead of encouraging the people. Sadly, you still seem to believe in Rovian tactics – the same tactics that are going to take John McCain down in four days, I hope you also lose.

    October 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Ssmith

    WOW...she must really, really, really, be desperate!
    Bad Lizzy Dole.

    October 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Jaime

    Mrs Dole seems to forget that there is a separation of Church and State, as stated in the Constitution that Congress shall not legislate with respect to any religion. If she cannot master that, how can she be a legislator? Besides, the Constitution guarantees freedoms for us, and not having a religion or not believing in a God is one of those freedoms.

    October 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. JF

    It just goes to show that there is no substitute for constant vigilance. For decades, we have "benignly" neglected to stand up to ignorance, hate and prejudice if that confrontation made us uncomfortable. You know, the "don't get involved" ethic. Well, here you have a glowing example of all those years of complacency – the Republican Party has drifted (no, actually SPEEDED) to the far Right, and now has no reservations about comingling Church and State in just about every issue that we encounter. If I'm not mistaken, the Constitution clearly states that religion and politics are to remain separate ..but not according to these folks. To a great degree, we have allowed them to become judges for us all ....legislating MORALITY now, too – every time something doesn't fit into their little comfort zones.

    October 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Rogue Palin

    To Clinton Supporter: Get over it! Your candidate lost for the same reasons that McOldy is losing! You are not a dem but a political ploy used by Rove, you are probably a GOP anyway and wouldn't vote for a black man.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. VOTE VOTE VOTE dont believe CNN

    this woman and the other nasty person, from here from MN (bachman) who is an embarrasement need to go AWAY

    these are the most unamerican people of our times along with Coleman, Rove, Limbaugh, Hennety, and their little mcbush group.. cheney, palin, joe the plumber.. etc..

    they are not true conservatives, and or republicans..

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Lulu

    I live in North Carolina and 4 years ago I asked why is Elizabeth Dole a senator from NC when she really does not live here. She has never done anything for this state. As soon as there is someone decided to run who really care about the state where she is raising her family, the only thing Liddy Dole can do is try to make Kay Hagan into some ugly, evil, godless, person and the only things she said she would work on for NC are reducing taxes and doing something about the immigration problem. Well Liddy, the immigration problem did not start when you starting running for office again, it started long time ago and you had six years to do something and you did NOTHING. Move over so we can at least try someone new and see if they will do a better job. Hard, great, working Americans are losing their jobs everyday and Liddy thinks she should keep her job when she has been lousy and lazy at it.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. Nicholas

    I am ashamed of Liz Dole and I bet her husband is also.. Senator Bob Dole is a good and honest man and his wife's comments would never come out of his mouth, or be a thought in his head.. Shame on you Liz

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Mike

    I may be Godless, but isn't that why there's a seperation of church and state?

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. AD

    Jeff in Oregon-

    Well said.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. jenny

    Elizabeth Dole will be trashed for her trash and all the trash of the Republican Party on November04. bye–bye –looser.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Colleen

    good point Dr Mimi....

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. TAINOPOWER

    This is what is going to happens in the united states of obama. Reporters cast away , tv stations order to turn off, web pages remove. we might have only one tv channel the obama channel.? His past actions let me believe that this country is going to be turn to a socialist system against our will.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Thomas

    What does one expect from a political party that has lost any sence of decency? The Republican strategy anymore is to smear, sling, and accuse. Enough is enough. Mrs. Dole needs to be retired.

    October 31, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. gbrown2

    KAY HAGAN FOR SEN. get rid of old face lift wearing Libby Dole!!!!!!! Send her home viagra bob.

    October 31, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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