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Libertarian candidate figures in Senate race

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haugh mug with otr 5-14-14

Sean Haugh, Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina

Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh could be a spoiler in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race, Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling writes.

Haugh polls at 11 percent, according to PPP's new survey -- and most of his support draws from Republican Thom Tillis.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leads Tillis in the poll 38-36.

If Haugh were not in the race, his backers would shift to Tillis by 47-27.

One question will be whether Haugh keeps them. Some could be Greg Brannon voters disaffected by his loss to Tillis in last week's GOP primary. Will they come around to Tillis in the end?

Republicans have made much of Hagan's poor approval ratings. In this poll, only 38 percent approve of her performance in office, compared to 49 percent who disapprove.

But Tillis' spread is even worse: 30/46.

Jensen notes that the state House speaker also took right-wing positions to win the GOP primary that aren't popular with the general electorate, such as denying climate change. Only 30 percent of North Carolinians surveyed agree with him.

Of course, Tillis can be expected to "moderate" his positions as November approaches.

Meanwhile, Hagan's fortunes may depend largely on how well, or not, the public adjusts to the implementation of Obamacare. If it seems to work out for more people, and there's no "train wreck," it may not hurt her so much.

Unfortunately, millions will be spent on TV ads that aim to drive up the negative numbers of both candidates.

But not, probably, Sean Haugh.

Contact editorial writer Doug Clark at (336) 373-7039 and dgclark@News-Record.com.

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