The North Carolina Senate race has tightened up quite a bit in the last couple months, with early attacks ads on Kay Hagan and the unpopular rollout of Obamacare taking a toll on her poll numbers. Hagan is now basically tied with her Republican challengers, leading Heather Grant 43/40, Thom Tillis 44/42, and Mark Harris 43/41 while trailing Greg Brannon 44/43.
Over the last two months Hagan's approval rating is pretty consistent. It was 43% in September and it's at 44% now. But her disapproval has spiked from 39% all the way up t0 49% over that period of time. It's no coincidence that the decline in Hagan's approval numbers tracks pretty closely with a big decline in President Obama's popularity over that same period of time. He's gone from having voters in the state pretty evenly divided about him in September at 48/49 to disapproving pretty strongly at 43/53.
It seems likely that the difficulties with the rollout of Obamacare are helping to make life more difficult for Hagan. It's always been unpopular in North Carolina and currently 38% of voters say they approve of it to 48% who disapprove, numbers pretty consistent with what we've found over the years. But what's really hurting Democrats is its being back in the news- 69% of voters say its rollout has been unsuccessful so far to only 25% who deem it a success. 49% say the rollout has been 'very unsuccessful.' Republicans (87%) and independents (75%) are pretty unanimous in their sentiment that the Obamacare launch hasn't gone well but even among Democrats only 41% give it positive ratings to 52% who think it's been problematic.
It's hard not to say at this point that the Obamacare rollout hasn't hurt Democrats. It has, and Hagan's numbers are pretty indicative that the constant "both sides do it" Village message, that Obamacare is just as bad the GOP government shutdown, has taken hold.
Luckily, you can always count on the GOP to overplay their hand. I expect another government shutdown this winter, and when it does, people are going to be reminded that the real problem in Washington isn't the guys trying to get health care to millions, but the guys trying to take that away.
Having said that, there's zero point in Hagan trying to run away from Obamacare now, and it's a message Alison Lundergan Grimes should keep in mind too.