The new survey of North Carolina from Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Sen. Richard Burr vulnerable against either of his two Democratic challengers, who are currently fighting it out in a June 22 runoff.
The numbers, among registered voters: Burr edges North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall by 43%-42%, and leads former state senator and Iraq War veteran Cal Cunningham by 44%-39%. The margin of error is ±3.9%.
The TPM Poll Average has Burr leading Marshall by 47.1%-37.7%, and leading Cunningham by 47.7%-35.3%. It should be noted, however, that almost all of this polling predates the first round of the Democratic primary from last week, and the Dems are expected to increase their name recognition.
PPP’s Tom Jensen notes that Burr’s approval rating is only 37%, with 40% disapproval. Another reference point for Burr’s status as a weak incumbent is that his polling right now is similar or even worse than his fellow Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole was in 2008 — and Dole went on to lose re-election in North Carolina by nine points.
Nevertheless, Jensen cautions:
It’s good for Marshall and Cunningham that they’re in a comparable or better position than Hagan at this point two years ago, but there’s no guarantee the rest of this story will play itself out as it did in 2008. It’s still shaping up as a strong election year for Republicans in North Carolina, and the turnout numbers from last week’s primary suggested a lack of interest in this year’s election among Democratic voters. Still it’s becoming increasingly clear that Burr will not coast to victory this fall, and that regardless of who the Democratic nominee is this should be a very competitive race.