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

Democrats gaining ground in crucial Senate race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/31/elizabeth-dole.jpg caption="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. Scott L

    Search you tube for DEAR MR. OBAMA – best video and most watched video of this election!!! Very inspiring...too bad Obama and liberals have no respect for this young man.

    October 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. bill

    What's good for the republicans to do is good for the democrats. They insist on trying to label Obama...i guess they don't like it when someone else uses their tactics...tuche`

    October 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. informed voter

    Serves her right. Since when is USA a country only for god loving christians?

    October 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Rabid mob

    Lord help us if we elect ourselves team Obama-Reid-Pelosi with no filbuster protection!!!

    October 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Susie

    This ad was terrible. Do the republicans forget what country we live in??! She is not an athiest but it's ok if she was! They remember the second amendment but somehow freedom of religion eludes them! They are acting like they get to define who is a "real" american. The republican party is the party of lies, fear tactics, and ignorance.

    October 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz




    October 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Please, Please 60!

    We really do need the majority to be able to get past republican blocks to important legislation.

    That's why even with a democrat majority, we haven't been able to do much – the republicans block and we can't override Bush vetos.

    Come on, America. We really need a change. The republicans have showed you how well they can manage this country (i.e. they can't), so please give the democrats a chance.

    Could it possibly be worse than Bush's doubling of the debt, a $1.1 to $1.5 trillion deficit this year, being mired in two wars, at the mercy of countries like China to fund our literally crazy spending?

    Give us a chance and see what we can do.

    October 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. a southern bell


    October 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. PDXGal

    Dole is devisive & poisionous. The sooner she's gone the better off that state (and the rest of us) will be.

    October 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Bulldog

    Official definition of terrorist from Merriam Webster:
    ter•ror•ism Pronunciation: \ter-ər-i-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1795
    : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
    1: a state of intense fear
    2 a: one that inspires fear : scourge b: a frightening aspect c: a cause of anxiety : worry d: an appalling person or thing ; especially : brat
    3: reign of terror
    4: violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands
    By definition a terrorist is anyone who incites fear and terror through lies, false accusations, and other coercion techniques that are not true. So therefore, by official definition Sarah Palin and many of the McCain/Palin supporters are TERRORISTS who keep creating lies and false accusations for the purpose of scaring people not to vote for Obama. You people must be proud.

    October 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Coda

    I'd vote for Hagan purely based on Dole's absurd "Godless" ad

    October 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |

    Maybe, just maybe, after this rout of the reptiles from both Houses of Congress, then and only then will the Reptilian party realize America is tired of this type of campaigning.

    But, I have to admit, st the risk of being hypocritical, that I honestly hope they don't, I want them out of power for decades.

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Charles in Cincinnati

    So, is Dole suggesting that it's not her job as a US Senator to represent "godless" citizens in North Carolina?

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. KLEE

    Tear down the bridges to nowhere and build bridges that bring us together – DEMOCRATIC TICKET ALL THE WAY.

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. M.K in CA.

    She should of kept her trap shut. 9 points down and counting.

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Clinton Supporter

    All that money and Obama is still neck and neck. Other Democrats on the ballot are sailing through compared to him.

    Hillary Clinton would be winning this walking away right now.

    But the DNC and Howard Dean prefer Mr. O. So they disallowed the primary votes of two states – waited until after they "crowned" our Hero, then gave the states back their votes in time for the coronation.

    Instead we have a nail biter. Americans deserve a Democratic administration. Party leaders and Obama do not.

    I refuse to reward this political home invasion. A life long Democrat, I can't bring myself to vote for McCain even now.

    So, Ralph Nader it is. At least he's an honorable human being.

    PS: Elizabeth Dole looks so lifelike in that picture!

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |


    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Chris

    Boy!! I guess that "Godless" ad isn't working too well after all, huh?

    Chris from Hendersonville, NC

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Mike, Texas

    The days are over for so called "Christian Republicans" who have been lying and cheating and using their faith to judge and tell others that they are evil, terrorist and what not. Yes, that includes you too..McCain.

    How can a real Christian, tell others that they are Godless or evil? Hypocrites and liars and it is funny that Christian really love that.

    October 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Mike in Ohio

    This serves Dole right. The lies and smears coming from the Republicans just intensify as they get more desperate, and it is a catch 22, because that desperation then turns more people off. It is time to show that those tactics can't change the fact that Enough is Enough.

    Right on the heels of this story comes the one of Mike Ditka campaigning with Sarah Palin. He said in Pennsylvania that... "I'm not here because I'm a Republican, which I am, and I'm not here because I'm a conservative, which I am. I'm here because I am an American.” Well, Barack Obama is here because he is an American, too. So what is your point, Ditka, and what are you trying to imply????

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

    I hope Dole loses even if only to make the point that nasty attack ads like the one she's currently running do not work. NC deserves better. Why not talk about the issues?

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

    Out with the OLD and in with the NEW! Go Democrats Go!

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

    we need the house and senate so obama can go to work for america

    October 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. David Newport, OR

    Dole is a virus. Her comments this past week confirms this statement. Why people put up with this type of behavior is beyond me.

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

    For any voters who cannot decide who to vote for, the Republicans like to make up lies about Obama, but they don’t want to tell the truth about Palin and McCain. Take a look at these clips, this is the truth and it is fact, straight from the candidate’s mouths:

    John McCain should drop out of the presidential race for these comments. He actually states that he does not agree with what the American people have to say:


    Palin, well this short clip speaks for itself:

    McCain on issues

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