First-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr
has an unimpressive 38 percent to 33 percent lead over Democrat Elaine Marshall
, the secretary of state, with Libertarian Michael Beitler
clocking in at 10 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey
conducted June 26-27. Twenty percent are undecided. The margin of error is 4.4 points.
Burr also has less-than-stellar job approval numbers with 39 percent disapproving of his performance, 34 percent approving and 28 percent not sure of their opinion. But Marshall must contend with the fact that 58 percent of the state's voters do not know enough about her to express a favorable or unfavorably opinion, even after a hotly-contested Democratic primary and runoff race.
Beitler, a business professor at UNC-Greensboro, pulls in the 10 percent despite the fact that 83 percent don't know much or anything about him.
When Marshall was still locked in her battle for the nomination against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, the preferred choice of national Democratic strategists, she had the support of 65 percent of Democrats in a race against Burr, according to a PPP poll in early June
. But even though she locked up the nomination, that has fallen to 57 percent. Burr is attracting the support of 14 percent of Democrats while getting 74 percent backing among Republicans (although that's down from 87 percent in the previous poll).
Burr, Marshall and Beitler are divvying up the independents (18 percent of the sample). Marshall gets 29 percent of their vote, Burr 27 percent at Beitler 26 percent, with 18 percent undecided. When it was just a two-way match-up in PPP's June poll, Burr lead among independents by 46 percent to 33 percent with 21 percent undecided.
"We are four months out from the election and with a fifth of voters undecided, it is anyone's game at this point," said PPP's Dean Debnam. "Both candidates, especially Marshall, need to increase visibility and energize voters to ensure their victory."
Follow Poll Watch on Twitter