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. j

    North Carolina vote for Kay Hagan and send a clear message to the GOP & Elizabeth Dole that smear & fear tactics don't work.

    Statistically the economy does better with a Democrat in the White House – vote Obama/Biden!

    October 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Dole used to be a respected name in Republican politics.

    October 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Alex

    All I can say is Conservatives everywhere believe they are entitled to be the "rulers". These people can do and say anything unthinkable to win. I do not even know how they say they believe in god when what they do all against god’s teaching. They are master of spinners. They throw, as much dirt as they can to their opponents, with the hope of some will stick. This is not just Doyle’s strategy look at what McCain is doing. It is despicable.

    October 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Rache from Bowie

    Run a hate campaign and you get run out of time...fool!

    October 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. alvino

    Until Liddy Dole, I never thought I would find anyone worse than Sarah Palin running for office.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Haha

    just like McSame...desperate and willing to try anything.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Parag Chikmath

    While they stare into the abyss of defeat nationwide, all that's left for the GOP now is dirty politics. And the more dirty they play, the more the people voting against the GOP. I say keep up the dirty work GOP, so that we Dems can sweep the country on Nov 4th.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. tevis

    I thought that Elizabeth Dole was a reasonable, moderate woman. Boy was I wrong. What a disgraceful advertisement, on multiple levels. She deserves to lose.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. milo

    Dole should be ashamed of herself, I hope voters punish her for such horrible tactics.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Rache from Bowie

    These people look creepy when they get that skin pulled...

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Independent for USA only

    Senator Dole should not be so negative. She fell down hard with other GOP politicians.

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Voted Wednesday for Hagen

    I'm not thrilled with Hagen but Dole is pathetic!!! I am so sick of the Republican's Carl Rove tactics!

    I also find nothing wrong in Freedom of Religion or a persons right to not have a religion.

    I believe in separation of "Church and State" or "Synagogue and State" or "Temple and State".

    No one can prove their religion is the right one so why don't we leave it out of our politics?

    October 31, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. RAR

    Elizabeth Dole's add is vile and drags the entire democratic system of elected representation in the gutter. Call her election office at 704-633-0014 or email info@elizabethdole.org and demand she pull her add immediately.

    October 31, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Get Real

    Everyone keeps saying barack will cause our country to get attacked by our enemies.... I believe the opposite.

    Think about it. Radical-Let Isalmic terrorist would prefer to have an attack against an American leader who they can cast as a Radical-Right Christian Terrorist whose followers believe it is the will of God to kill/destroy Muslims.

    For it is this scenerio that validates Radical-Let Isalmic terrorist belief. Remember they are not afraid of fighting and dying... the are really afraid of truth, peace and unity.

    October 31, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. JP

    It makes me laugh when Obama and Biden talk about creating jobs.
    The trial lawyers and unions both destroy jobs and are a drag on the economy. Those 2 groups are the 2 largest contributors to the democratic party and Obama. If Obama wins its pay back time and we all lose unless you are a lawyer or union member.

    October 31, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. BELLE

    AFTER THE ELECTION, WE NEED TO ENSURE A MOVEMENT BEGINS TO ELIMINATE DISTORTIONS, LIES, HATE, AND DIVISION. After elections we are left with a populace divided, with no trust of the newly elected officials, and convinced the "godless", "socialist" or "baby killer" won. In a recent experience, an executive said in a meeting (first hand info) "Barak will ruin my family. I hope someone shoots him." Anyone who perpetuates this division and namecalling, especially when wrong, has to be crushed at the polls to ensure they do not come back. And we need to ensure this type of behavior is totally discounted and that there are consequences.

    October 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Sam SixPack

    We've got those Republicans on the run!

    Just look at them scurry away like rats with all their obscene wealth in their greedy little paws!

    We don’t need their lousy demeaning jobs – we can live off tax refunds.

    October 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |

    Anyone seen the PUMAS?

    October 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Chris

    Absouletly appalling. Elizabeth Dole resorting to outright lies.

    Liddy, I am so sorry for you that you betray all of your rpincipals in an attempt to retain worldly power, and that you bear false witness against another human.

    That, my firends, is Godless.

    October 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. SAI

    For over two decades, I admired Elizabeth Dole for what she seemed to represent – decency in politics – and what she did in serving our nation. Her recent desperate blaspehmous attack on her opponent has vastly diminished her. It is one thing to lose with grace and with one's dignity and values intact – and it is entirely another thing to jump into the sewer and get neck deep to fling a few handfuls at your opponent. I feel sorry for her, and for her fall in our esteem. In my eyes, Elizabeth Dole has lost with this action, irrespective of the outcome of the polling on Nov. 4.

    October 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. FL for OBAMA

    Scott L

    You are the last person who should mention "no respect"....oh, the irony. Pot, please meet kettle.

    October 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. R in Maine

    Why does she think that she has the right to call anyone godless? I did not think that she could be beaten this year, but now she has made it possible. There is no Christian love in her. She really fits the mold of a Republican regime.

    October 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Hoolame

    Ridiculous Ms. Dole. Who cares if she is an atheist? The Constitution does not require that people running for Congress subscribe to a certain tenet of beliefs, religious or not. It is an act of desperation. And if she is "Godless" as you claim, isn't it your responsibility as a Christian to witness to her and try to bring her to Christ rather than tearing her down. It amazes and saddens me that the GOP always touts themselves as true Americans, Patriotic, and God-loving, yet can't stand America or most Americans, and their actions are most un-Christian in their treatment of others.

    October 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. david,baltimore,mamryland

    Senator Dole now admits the ad was inadvertent.Apparently that morning by mistake she took her husband's viagra and just could not control her emotions towards her senatorial opponent..

    October 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. AC

    I really think an Obama presidency will allow white people to honestly be critical of a black man, in a mixed audience, based on how he does performs as president without the false stigma of being considered a racist.
    I know I will feel quite liberated.

    October 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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