As Tillis Trails Hagan, NRA Launches Major Ad Buy

Posted: Sep 19, 2014 5:30 PM

This isn’t a surprise, but Thom Tillis needs something to happen if he’s to unseat Hagan by Election Day.

Recent news hasn’t been too kind to Tillis. A poll from the conservative Civitas Institute showed that unaffiliated voters in North Carolina, who make up 27 percent of the electorate, back Hagan over him.

Fox News poll of likely North Carolina voters showed that Sen. Hagan has the advantage, beating Tillis 41/36. Yet, 19 percent said that they could change their mind between now and Election Day.

An Elon University poll also found Hagan beating Tillis 45/41 amongst likely voters. Tillis’ 47-point deficit amongst single women (they’re breaking 65/18 for Hagan) could be one of the reasons why he’s continued to trail Hagan in the polls. The poll surveyed 1,078 residents, 983 were registered to vote in North Carolina, and 629 described themselves as likely voters.

But there are some areas where Tillis can maneuver. For the first time since 2007, likely voters said the most important issue in the United States had to do with national security, or something related to international relations. Republicans have a clear advantage on foreign affairs heading into the 2014 midterms.

At the same time, from this poll, it looks as if immigration won’t be such an animating force as it is in New Hampshire amongst North Carolina’s registered voters, of which 47 percent think “immigrants are a benefit to North Carolina because of their hard work.” Forty percent feel they will be a burden to public services.

Abortion is another tricky issue, as 44 percent favor fewer restrictions on abortion; 40 percent want more restrictions. On Obamacare, almost half of registered voters–48 percent– think the ACA would make North Carolina health care worse, according to the Elon Poll. Thirty-one percent think it will make it better.

Then again, 7.5 percent of likely voters polled said they were undecided. When pressed whom they would vote for, 49 percent still said they were not sure. Elon predicted that means 4.6 percent of the electorate is up for grabs.

Recently, the National Rifle Association is planning a $11.4 million dollar advertising campaign in key senate and gubernatorial races (via Politico):

The National Rifle Association has reserved $11.4 million for its initial fall advertising campaign and will begin airing its first TV commercials Wednesday in three Senate races crucial to determining which party controls the chamber next year.

The gun rights group, which outlined its fall priorities exclusively for POLITICO Campaign Pro, said it plans to spend much more than the initial outlay during the final weeks before the midterm elections.

The first ads will begin airing in the Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina Senate races. They will be followed in the next few days with a mix of TV, radio and digital ads to help out the GOP Senate candidates in Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa and Louisiana.

The NRA has reserved $1.4 million of time in each state.

The bulk of the North Carolina buy, just over $1 million, will air in the Raleigh-Durham market, and about $350,000 will be spent in Greensboro.

Additionally, Freedom Partners Action Fund launched a $750,000 ad buy with two ads hitting Sen. Hagan over the Veterans Affairs fiasco and Obamacare.

The Obamacare ad actually ties in education, where we hear from a registered Democrat named Brenda, who taught in North Carolina for over 40 years, but had her hours cut as a substitute teacher due to Obamacare.

While not from the Tillis campaign, the Freedom Partners ad does a nice job in expanding the Obamacare blast radius to not just about gutted plans and higher premiums; it tied in education, which is an issue where Democrats are hammering Tillis.

Speaking of which, here’s an ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slamming Tillis over his education cuts.

Sen. Kay Hagan, who garnered an endorsement from Cosmopolitan this week, also had this direct ad stating she’s "tough enough to keep taking the punches."

As Election Day draws closer, more voters are likely to become more attentive to this race. Elon predicts that North Carolina will have a higher than average voter turnout this year, so the possible fall groundswell could benefit either campaign. We’ll have to see what happens.