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. Angi's Mom

    Add Elizabeth Dole's name to the list of great Republican leadership: George W., Cheney, Rove, McBush, Palin, Joe the Plumber.

    Vote for hope, not fear.

    October 31, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. John

    Dole should get some plastic surgery on her face.

    October 31, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    @ SCOTT L. : sir, please do not JUDGE what we "liberals" think.

    FYI to ALL the FAR-RIGHT bloggers: NOT ALL Sen. Obama supporters are LIBERALS! MOST of us, are just sick and tired of the VILE Republican politics!

    McCain has been lying in his speeches, in his ads, in his robo-calls just the SAME as Bush did and has!

    We, Americans, are SO sick and tired of the politics of hate, lies, fear and division!

    We WANT a president who will UNITE us, who OFFERS us CHANGE!
    We are sick and tired of the DISASTER the Republicans have made!

    SCOTT, you and the other far-right bloggers ONLY attack, LIE and try to cause FEAR. How about talking about the FACTS and issues that face our Nation?

    Like $10 TRILLION IN NATIONAL DEBT doubled by Bush/Cheney?

    Or what about the FACT that Bush/Cheney are spending $10 BILLION a month in Iraq..........etc., etc., etc.


    October 31, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Clare, Orlando, FL

    This is to all the Pollsters:

    I am been doing a survey on the Black vote. No one has been taking a poll with African Americans, and the few that did get the poll, has been staying they are undecided. Don't be surprized when SC, GA and the rest of the states that has a large Black and Latino community go to the polls. This will be a landslide.

    October 31, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. Bill

    Obama: "A woman shouldn't have to suffer the rest of her life for a mistake she made when she was young."

    Mr. Obama, then you are lucky to be here today. You do not understand the value of a human life, your mother did.
    What happened, you sold your sole....

    You have sealed my vote for McCain.

    October 31, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Chick Coleman

    My trucks aren't running now. I will be glad to help this liar move back to Kansas. I think North Carolina Political Advertising just hit an all time low.
    I shudder to think that maybe the Democrats are right. Maybe we Republicans really are this awful.

    October 31, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |

    Tsk tsk tsk Lizzie Dole. For someone who's so christian, you should know its a mortal sin to break the commandment thou shall not bear false witness etc....and what about what Jesus taught...do unto others etc....AND what about the gay old commandment of what comes around goes around girlfriend! You're gonna get hit with a nasty dose of karma.

    AND to the poster who made a big stink about Dems getting more donations from Wall St....apparently that must mean big business is more confident in the Dems fixing the economy than the repukes, so in your face with a can of mace!

    October 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Jim Schimmer

    She deserves it..
    McFEAR – Thats all Republicans know!!

    THATS IT!!

    October 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. khadi

    I live in Indianapolis, and just donate to kay,

    Obama 08

    October 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Chandu

    Ok so Obama is a muslim and Hagan is an atheist. That leaves Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Scientologist remaining for the rethuglicans to use.

    October 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Gary Woodland Hills

    The fact that the claims in this ad turned out to be blatant lies says much about the desparation of the GOP candidates in this year's elections. I've seen only one GOP candidate who's running an honorable campaign and deserves to be re-elected this year. He is Oregon's Gordon Smith. Most others, whether it's Minnesota's Michele Bachmann, or North Carolina's Dole, have run a disgraceful campaign and should be punished by losing this election. This is the year the GOP learns its lessons. This is the year we can change Washington to work for us, the people of the United States.

    October 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Rob indetroit

    People are tired of dirty tactics,code words,and just plain old lies.

    October 31, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Phoenix

    Elizabeth Dole is done.

    October 31, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Jerry

    The real issue here is that Sen. Dole seems to believe, like George H.W. Bush did, that atheists don't deserve the same rights as everyone else.

    One of the things we hate about Iran is that it's a theocracy, right? Anyone else see the problem here?

    October 31, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Eljay

    I wonder when this country will emerge from the Middle Ages and make religion a NON-ISSUE for elections.

    October 31, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Laurie

    Dole needs to take a trip to the Jefferson Memorial, on which this is inscribed into the second panel: "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."
    That means YOU, Elizabeth Dole, are the UNnAmerican, not Kay Hagen.

    October 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Manny

    It just doesn't get any better than this, the repugs are going to get flushed down the toilet, where they belong.

    October 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. NC 4 McCain

    To me it's not about the left or the right it's about job performance and Dole's performance is lacking. I refuse to vote for anyone (age, race, color) that has shown the lack of getting the job done. Dole has done nothing for the state of NC. NOTHING AT ALL!!

    October 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. michael huynh

    We all American.We have to love this country and protect it
    when you go somewhere else , you see we are lucky, beacause
    we live in USA.,

    October 31, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. BJ in NC

    Whatever happened to THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? God does not need Libby Dole to fight his battles. She needs to clean up her act.

    If we do elect the Obama, Reid, and Pelosi team, something to help the average man will come out of it. Lord knows that nothing came of the Bush, Cheney, McCain group except more burdens on the average citizens pocketbooks.

    October 31, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Dave T

    This North Carolinian is appalled by the smear job attempted by Liddy Dole. I always knew she was a smarmy, deceitful guttersnipe. Now the entire world has proof. It's nice to be vindicated.

    October 31, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. bababear

    It is a shame that someone I used to respect like Sen Dole should choose to, and find it necessary to stoop to such tactics. The total failure of the current Admin has brought low the good as well as the bad. Unfortunately, even though Ms. Hagen is a Pres. Sunday school teacher and an Elder in her church, all the public will hear and latch onto is the "Godless" ad. Sheep to the slaughter on a ride of fear generated emotion – retraction at the bottom of page six .

    October 31, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. AM in VA

    What a pineapple !!

    October 31, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. pennsylvanian

    Disgusting on Dole's part, on two grounds:

    1) Separation of church and state is written into the Constitution. If Dole wants to compete with Hagan on the basis of faith, let her do so in church.

    2) Hagan denies knowing she was meeting with "godless" Americans, but even if she was, so what? These people are not criminals.

    I have had it up to here with the effort to suffuse religion into the public sphere. if you want a theocracy, move to Iran.

    I hope Liddy Dole loses bigtime.

    October 31, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Vickie

    I'm just shocked the Mrs. Dole would give that add the ok....

    I have lost all respect for that lady, I 'm just shocked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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