The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, which surveyed 904 likely voters from August 20th to 23rd. The results come on the heels of an extensive ad campaign run by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee against Dole.
The Washington-based group has released 3 ads that attack Dole, a Salisbury republican, for a low effectiveness rating in the senate and for the frequency with which she votes in step with President Bush.
"It means Elizabeth Dole certainly is vulnerable and a good campaign can unseat her," said NC State Associate Professor of political science Steven Greene. "I am a little surprised because Elizabeth Dole just really seems almost like an institution in this state."
Dole's campaign dismisses the poll, claiming Public Policy Polling is a democratic-leaning organization that stands to benefit from a tight race. The Dole campaign also questions the methodology used in the poll, in which an automated voice asks people to push buttons on their phones.
"Everyone knows this polling method is completely worthless," said Hogan Gidley, a Dole spokesman. He also criticized the Hagan campaign. "We're not even to Labor Day yet, and it's a shame this campaign has already sunk to this level, but our opponent is insistent on constantly being negative, constantly lying and attacking Senator Dole without offering what she plans to do for North Carolina."
The Hagan campaign says it has no connection to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but the campaign's message doesn't differ much from the content of the ads.
Elizabeth Dole has a 5 1/2 year record to run on. We're making the case that record isn't in the best interest of North Carolina voters," said Colleen Flanagan, a Hagan campaign spokeswoman. "I think you have a voting record that 92% of the time is with George W. Bush which oftentimes isn't in the best interest of North Carolina voters, and when you're ranked #93 in effectiveness among all senators, those are 2 things you need to answer to voters about."
Both candidates were campaigning across the state today and were unavailable for comment.