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. Michelle, PA

    I used to like Bob Dole, but never warmed up to her. Just got a feeling about her, and now I know why. Faking your opponent's voice to make a patently false accusation, Libby? For that alone, your constitutents deserve better. Shame on you!

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Pat Pa.

    Another Repub scum bag. Is it any wonder their campaign in this country is going to the dogs.
    I hope this woman loses BIG time.

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Sam SixPack

    Yay! Not long now until we all walk hand-in-hand to our new training wage jobs.

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Cynthia; Bham

    Let's hope that the Democrats that pull it off in all of their races, especially against those like Elizabeth Dole. It must be a Republican thing to go so negative and especially negatives that are untrue.

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Johnny from SC

    Elizabeth Dole is worst than John McCain.. She will say or do anything to get re-elected.

    Hagan 08'

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. jason

    so, promoting rights for atheists makes you godless?

    does promoting rights for blacks make you black?

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Christine CT Ind

    Ahhh...I LOVE the smell of desperation in the morning- smells like VICTORY!!!

    October 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Steve

    I can't wait for the day that I can vote for an openly godless candidate....

    October 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    THe Democrats having a lock on the Presidency and Congress – now that should shivers down the spines of every American. Look what Pelosi & Company have done to your 401's; your bank accounts; your credit worthiness. Entitlement programs will run rampant. You will have more people on the dole; more social welfare programs that are ineffectual and it will be tax and spend and you will be picking up the tab for the next 4 to 8 years. Get rid of one deadbeat in the White House and replace him with another. Think twice before you bring the broom out and sweep away the Bushies.

    October 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    out with the Republicans.....


    October 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Eric

    OMG Clinton Supporter would you get over it already.

    October 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Tony

    Time to throw Libby Dole out!!!!

    October 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |

    What's the problem with so many OLD Republican candidates?

    Is it their AGE, their failing memory or inability to discuss openly about REAL problems affecting the majority of voters?

    Why isn't Ms. Dole retiring and tending to her elderly husband?

    October 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Neal

    Good. Dole's filthy, Karl Rove-like stunt of making her opponent out to be godless is disgusting. I am godless and unlike Kay Hagen I have not taught Sunday School for the past 25 years in a Presbyterian church.
    Dole is clearly the godless one.

    October 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Atheist American

    I am an atheist and an American. I thought that our country was about freedom of choice when it came to religion. I thought our country was about defending our rights to freedom? I didn't know that I was a "bad" person for choosing to believe in science and choosing to not affiliate myself with a religion.

    You know, radical Muslims believe in god, or allah, as they call him, but are they considered to be "good" and I am not? That seems a bit ridiculous. I am a good, taxpaying, caring, responsible American. Please don't judge me because of my non-religious beliefs. I don't judge church-goers for theirs.

    October 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Matt

    I voted for Obama and Hagan last week before I heard the ad. However, I was so offended I immediately went to Hagan's website and made a contribution.

    The reality is that Dole has become completely ineffective. I watched her "ask questions" during the committee meeting for the bailout bill. She read her question. It didn't appear to me she understood what she was reading, even if it was a rather simple question.

    I can't believe Clinton supporters are still sitting this out, voting for McCain, or voting for Nader. Any of those options are a vote for McCain. Do you really think McCain will better represent the ideals of the Clinton campaign? Just think Supreme Court. Forget about the issue of taxing existing health care benefits. Too much is at stake.

    Matt in NC

    October 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Ted:Canada

    From up here…

    You are starting to look like IRAQ
    The divisions – the hatred – the false accusations.
    You are calling each other terrorist s, socialist! and Godless...You are burning and throw things at each other signs and effigies. STOP IT!
    It may be normal for a Middle East country in turmoil
    BUT we are democratic free countries. SHOW MORE DIGNITY!

    This is not Republican it is Repulsive!

    October 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Curious

    Why are there posts that suggest that McCain "knows how to keep us safe"? What has he done to warrant that belief? I know he was a victim and survivor of Vietnam (like my husband who saved over 20 lives before being shot) but what has he done?

    October 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Ron from Baltimore

    What ugliness of character this election cycle hs brought out. This is about as low as we have seen, Sen. Dole, and amounts to nothing less than using religion to falsely terrorize the many Believers in North Carolina. The whole world is watching, did you realize that? This attempt at drumming up intolerance is terrorism.

    Terrorism, from our own elected officials, being used on their own constituents. Shameful. Given the lack of respect you are showing for the Senate, your rival, and the people of North Carolina, let me in stead use this term: Skankful. Very fitting, so very sadly fitting.

    October 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. CNN = neo-con

    finally coming clean, eh?

    but you lose, CNN., you lose. you're less than irrelevant, LOL.

    try and suppress real progressive agenda, i dare ya.

    it won't make an ounce of difference. the train has left the station!

    you're going down the proverbial toilet, CNN, LOL.

    October 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. DianneATL

    I am so tired of the "I'll say and do anything to get elected" mind set this year. Very sad that we, as voters, have to spend our time sifting through BS rather than evaluating each candidate and their individual, actual, real platforms. So the good news is – don't listen to ads or robocalls. Read, research and evaluate real information – it will take you more time to get to it, but you'll feel much better after.

    October 31, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. NC Mom

    This election has been handed to Hagan on a silver platter.

    Vote Democratic!

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

    Dole..........................uhm...........................why someone please tell me why Republicans are such LIERS? Why tell out-right bold faced LIES? Hasn't 8 years of 2 LIERS in the W.H. made most of SICK? That along with all of $$ stolen from most American's should certianly make everyone sick.

    Sen. Obama by a land-slide.

    October 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Greg in NC

    To all those that make comments only about Republican's using so called "scare tactics" and lies, grow up. The Democratic party is no better. I'm not excusing Dole or any Repub, but let's not be hypocritical. Even the almighty Obama lies.

    The unfortunate fact is, it is politics as usual from both parties. Neither care about the issues, neither really stand for anything anymore. Who ever wins on Tuesday, it will be a sad day for our country.

    October 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Debbie in Missouri

    Mrs. Dole ran an ugly campaign.

    You reap what you sow.

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