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. Raf

    Wow! Here is one more Neo nazi (Dole) disguised as a "Christian".

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

    I'm wondering how many "seminar" writers for Obama are writing comments on this article. Many of the posters are absolutely goofy in their comments.

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. James

    Godless...She must be watching FOX too much...the sickening lies and right wing propaganda from FOX is poisonous... Ann Coulter must be really proud of Liz Dole today...

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Gary

    Libby is about to pay for her sins.

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. jeff in MA

    Republicans can start singing that song that goes "This is the end, my only friend the end...".

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Shawn_T



    do NOT complain!

    October 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. frustrated democrat

    I live in NC, and this is another reason why Obama supporters need to make sure they vote. Dole's commercial is guaranteed to mobilize the Religious Right (which is large in NC) to show up and vote on Nov 4th. All of us Obama supporters need to do the same (I have actually already voted, but I suspect many others do not).

    October 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. michael

    ur finished sleaze mistress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 and nobody deserves it more than you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GROW UP

    October 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. former gop

    Elizabeth Dole is "shameless."

    October 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Dave T

    And please explain to me, Liddy, how you seek to apply a religious litmus test clearly frowned upon in the US Constitution. For a champion of originalism, piously bleating about judges legislating from the bench (unless you like the ourcome) I am baffled by your apparent approval of the application of religion litmus tests. Surely your Harvard law degree has taught you better.

    October 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Chela

    You know, I'm sick and tired of these attacks on people's faith by the GOP! I'm a life-long liberal Democrat and proud of it! I've had a personal relationship with God since I was 3 and went through my spiritual crisis when I was 13. I absolutely despise people who try to tell me what to believe and who think that they're the only ones "going to heaven" because of the particulars of their faith.

    Well, in my opinion, they're just a bunch of hypocrites! If they were such great folks, they wouldn't be going around lying about others for political/financial gain!

    October 31, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. MaryJane

    One state no-one's talking about is Texas. It will be BLUE this year! Another suprise!!

    October 31, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Lord Help Us All!

    I am completely horrified that Dole would sink this low! The Republican party has lost all morals and is rolling in the gutter!! This is the very type of campaign that caused me to vote for Obama.

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. mitch

    dole is the epitome of what is wrong with the republican-we-got-a-monopoly-on- religion crowd. their faith teaches them hate. her crowd does nothing but steal from the sick and the old all in the name of GOD. the jesus i know was a left-wing liberal like me and barack.

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Virginia

    Elizabeth Dole should be ashamed of herself. What has happened to
    integrity during this election campaign? Is it win at any cost? What kind of
    representative do we want to have someone who manipulates the truth
    for their own purposes or honesty in government? Let's not let this
    happen again.

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. MaryJane

    Between Dole and Bachman is MN, they think Americans are god-hating and anti-American! They both will be banished on Tuesday! We're cleaning house this year!

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Carla

    Nasty Lady... she's going to end her career in disgrace.

    I don't know why republicans think it's OK to campaign with nastiness, lies and garbage, and people that vote based on all the negativity should be ashamed of themselves...

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Jon

    To Elizabeth Dole: I had always respected you for your American ideals; You have not destroyed you reputation. My brother in law also got a postcard with this trash message. Bob must be very very unhappy as to you and your advisers. American should run for office with grace and if you lose; there is next time and you still have your respect.
    Jon in Calif.

    October 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. hugh

    Poor Bob Dole!!!!Bye,Bye Elizabeth!


    October 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. grandmapat

    I just sent an email to Dole per RAR's suggestion and I sent some money to Kay Hagan.
    Hope others can do the same.
    Dole should not be allowed to get away with this. I told her how disgusting this is.

    October 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. MaryK

    To everyone who says elect McCain because he has the experience, experience at what! No one, absolutely no on has any prior experience in dealing a bad economy, bad healthcare, 2 bad wars, bad education. The only one is Bush and he was horrible. But even though I am a democrat, I HAD always admired McCain and would have probably lived with him being elected, that was before he picked Gov. Palin, she is in no way prepared for VP or the Presidency. And the way McCain has run his campaign, I don't even recognize him anymore. He sold himself out for a shot at the commander in chief, you don't give up your core values for anything, no job is worth that. The exact same thing is true with E. Dole, what a horrible thing to do, she doesn't deserve to serve ever again.

    October 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Fred NH

    It's not Sen Dole's idea. It's the Republican machine.
    It's not Sen McCain's idea. It's the Republican machine.
    Negative selling is taboo for most individuals. I know, as an industrial salesman, that negative selling never works. it's a turn-off. I have actually received orders from custoemrs where my competition negative sold me and my company. And those customers told me that I got the order because of my competitions' negative selling.
    Will the same thing happen to the Republican machine?

    October 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Josh in NC

    I was going to vote for Hagan until I saw this add. It bothers me that she would take money from these shady people.

    October 31, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Independent in NC

    I was surprised at the ad, but not really offended, since it was clear the voiceovers were not Hagan. And living here, I have yet to see a positive ad from Kay Hagan, so she's not exactly sunshine and roses herself. I think the only one I've seen where she isn't spewing venom about Dole was the one where her name is attached to Obama and Perdue.

    There is a third-party option on the ballot for the Senate race, and I have yet to see a nasty Libertarian ad.

    October 31, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Mary North Carolina

    Lib Dole has been a disaster for North Carolina and has only been a "rubber stamp" for bush and his policies. Instead of telling us what she would do to help the people in North Carolina; she makes up lies and runs horrific ads because she has done nothing for us and she thinks this is the way to win. I have no respect for her at all, and I thought that Christians were supposed to love one another and not try to tear down someone's character. Do so hope Hagan can be our Senator as we have not had anyone to speak for us for the past many years.

    October 31, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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