Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh is polling “a surprisingly high 11 percent” in the U.S. Senate race, according the first poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is at 38 percent, Republican challenger Thom Tillis is at 36 percent, and 15 percent are undecided.
“This is an extraordinarily high poll result for a third-party candidate in three-way race for U.S. Senate in a major public poll,” observed Richard Winger, a nationally recognized ballot access law expert, writing on his Ballot Access News website.
Haugh said he was excited by the results of this poll. “This supports my belief that people are hungry for an alternative, that they are eager to support any candidate who is against more war and more debt,” he said.
In a press release announcing the results, Public Policy Polling said that Haugh’s presence in the race has the potential to be a headache for Tillis if the contest remains this competitive. PPP concluded that despite his outright win last week some folks within his own party continue to be disaffected with him and are leaning toward voting Libertarian, at least for now.
“For the last six months now it’s looked like this will be one of the closest Senate races in the country,” said Dean Debnam, PPP president. “And the results of the primary didn’t change that – it’s unlikely either of these candidates will be able to end up pulling away by more than a few points. All eyes will be on North Carolina in the battle for control of the Senate.”
PPP also included that North Carolina is unlike the many other competitive U.S. Senate races where undecided voters lean strongly Republican. That makes it likely this race will remain close.
This is the second election poll in where the Libertarian candidate has made a significant showing. Just before the primary, a poll by the Civitas Institute showed that the Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate would draw 8 percent of the vote statewide, and 19 percent in the Triangle.
Haugh is a former LPNC chair and executive director, and also served as the national Libertarian Party political director.