The battle for the U.S. House and Senate is winding down; we are 22 days away from Election Day. Besides campaigns making sure they have enough volunteers to cover the polls, enough poll watcher certificates, enough clipboards, pens, voter registration lists, and snacks (hey, you have to feed these people); they are also pushing out ads, especially in races where turnout will be the deciding factor.
A new High Point University poll, which sampled 584 likely voters, had Hagan and tills tied at 40 percent, with Libertarian Sean Haugh coming in with 7 percent of the vote.
In North Carolina, that’s exactly what Thom Tillis’ allies and Sen. Kay Hagan did last week. Both Crossroads GPS and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee released ads hitting Hagan for skipping an Armed Services Committee hearing to fundraise.
Meanwhile, the Hagan campaign has hit Tillis saying, “Women can’t trust him.” The ads featured his voting to defund Planned Parenthood and his opposition to equal pay legislation. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took an predictable line of attack against Tillis; they tied him to the evil Kochtopus.
While Hagan has been able to hobble Tillis more over his reported cuts to education, an Elon poll last month found that most likely voters also have national security and international affairs on their minds due to growth of ISIS:
When asked “what is the most important issue in the United States?” many likely voters mentioned something related to international affairs or national defense. Not since 2007 has the Elon Poll found foreign affairs to be a top issue on the minds of North Carolinians. Tillis and Hagan supporters tend to differ on what is the most important issue. Hagan supporters seem to see education as the most important issue, while Tillis supporters were more likely to mention international affairs and national defense.
With voters trusting Republicans more than Democrats in handling terrorism and foreign affairs issues, this issue seems to be a godsend for Tillis, who’s been hammering Hagan for being a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda. Now, he can add that she’s soft of terrorism. It’s almost as if the ghosts of 2004 are coming back to haunt the left.
Additionally, Tillis’ stumping across the state and talking about his humble upbringing helps carrying himself as an authentic candidate, who faced socioeconomic obstacles and overcame them. This seems to be a narrative that resonates with voters well, especially in a lackluster economy.
As for college campuses, Hagan did a Week of Action tour across campuses in the Tar Heel state last month, but the RNC released this ad today encouraging young Republicans to volunteer as the 2014 cycle comes to a close. Yes, there are not many self-identified Republicans in the millennial generation, but never underestimate the power of a few dedicated volunteers. RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and Sen. Ron Johnson will be stumping with Tillis for his youth week of action in events held in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh.
It also helps that he was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this morning. Given the appearance that Tillis has closed his deficit in the polls with Hagan 22 days before Election Day, this is turning out to be an insanely competitive–and entertaining–race. We should all expect to stay up late for the final results.