NC Senate race unaffected by recent developments, new voter poll finds

NC Senate race unaffected by recent developments, new voter poll finds
The 2020 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina features incumbent republican Sen. Thom Tillis challenged by democratic nominee Cal Cunningham (Source: WECT)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The race to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate has not been affected much by recent developments with Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, according to a new voter poll.

Amid Tillis testing positive for COVID-19 and Cunningham being involved in a sexting scandal, a new poll by Public Policy Polling says the news produced no significant changes on who is leading the race.

PPP’s new North Carolina poll finds Cal Cunningham leading Thom Tillis 48-42. That represents a slight improvement for Cunningham from PPP’s last public poll of the race in late July when Cunningham’s advantage was 48-44.

However, PPP says the new developments are having somewhat of an impact on Cunningham’s favorability rating, with 37 percent saying they have a positive opinion of him to 39 percent with a negative one.

But that -2 net favorability rating is still 21 points better than Tillis'- he’s at -23 with 31 percent of voters having a favorable opinion of him to 54 percent with an unfavorable one, PPP found.

Fifty-eight percent of voters say they heard about the news over the weekend and among those who did 58 percent say it doesn’t make a difference in their vote.

Most notably among independent voters, 69 percent say they have heard the news over the weekend, and Cunningham leads Tillis by 19 points with independents at 53-34 anyway.

Thirty-seven percent of independent voters say it makes them less likely to vote for Cunningham, and three percent say it makes them more likely to.

On Monday, Sen. Thom Tillis said that he regained his senses of taste and smell, and is no longer exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus on Friday, officials said.

Tillis will continue to self-isolate, spokesman Adam Webb said.

Amid the sexting scandal, Cunningham decided to cancel his appearance at a virtual town hall event scheduled to take place Monday.

A spokesperson for Cunningham’s campaign said this to CBS 17: “He’s unable to attend today but looks forward to continuing to work to earn the opportunity to fight for North Carolinians.”

Cunningham apologized late Friday for the text message exchanges in which he tells the woman that is not his wife that he wants to kiss her and she says she wants to spend the night with him.

Read PPP’s entire findings here.

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