Dome: Poll shows Hagan leading potential rivals

FROM STAFF REPORTSJanuary 16, 2013 

North Carolina voters are divided about Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, but she leads prospective Republican opponents, according to a new poll.

Only 34 percent of voters approve of the job that Hagan is doing, while 36 percent disapprove, and 31 percent have no opinion, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh.

But Hagan leads all potential opponents. She leads GOP Congresswoman Renee Ellmers 46 to 40 percent, Congressman Patrick McHenry 45 to 39 percent, and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx 47 to 40 percent. She also leads Congressman George Holding 45 to 37 percent, Congressman Robert Pittenger 46 to 38 percent, state Senate leader Phil Berger 47 to 38 percent, and state House Speaker Thom Tillis 47 to 37 percent.

Part of the reasons Republicans are not doing better is they are not very well known, according to pollster Tom Jensen.

“There’s a good chance this race will get close as Republicans settle around a candidate and that person builds up their profile across the state,” Jensen writes.

Hagan’s position is pretty reminiscent of Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s situation four years ago, Jenson writes, when he had middling approval numbers, but ended up easily winning re-election.

The survey of 608 voters was conducted Jan. 10-13 and had a margin of error of 4 percent.

Democrats want help suing

Legislative Democrats sent out a fundraising letter Tuesday asking for money to pay for the Democrats’ redistricting lawsuit.

Democrats, civil rights groups and nonprofit groups suing over the GOP-drawn maps have had some setbacks recently. Their effort to get state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby to recuse himself from redistricting decisions failed.

The larger case remains in front of a panel of three superior court judges.

“Carrying this fight to the courts is an expensive proposition, but critical for the future of our state,” the email says.

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville, House Minority Leader Larry Hall of Durham, Senate minority whip Josh Stein of Raleigh and House deputy minority leader Michael Wray of Gaston signed the email.

Subhead

The state Auditor’s Office has a smartphone application that allows people who spot government fraud or waste to report it, using their smartphones, to the office’s investigative division.

Users can download photos or video to support their allegations, according to the office. By law, the names of those making reports are kept confidential.

The app, available for iPhones and for phones using the Android operating system, allows for anonymous reporting.

Subhed

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque’s trial on federal charges has been postponed from Feb. 12 to May 14. The postponement -- the second time the trial has been delayed -- is because new charges were filed against the Kinston Republican last month.

Federal Judge Malcolm Howard granted the request from the prosecution and defense, citing the complex nature of the case. LaRoque, who resigned from the General Assembly after he was indicted in July, faces 10 counts, including fraud and tax offense allegations.

He is accused of enriching himself with business-stimulus money from a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program, through non-profit entities he set up to make the loans.

Staff writers Rob Christensen, Lynn Bonner and Craig Jarvis

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