Tillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll

Tillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection GOP under mounting pressure to strike virus deal quickly MORE (R-N.C.) trails one of his Democratic challengers by 7 points in North Carolina’s 2020 Senate race, according to a new poll.

Tillis, one of the more endangered Senate Republicans running for reelection, trails state Sen. Erica Smith (D) 46 percent to 39 percent in an Emerson College poll released Tuesday, while 15 percent of voters are undecided.


Democrats view North Carolina’s Senate seat as a potential pickup opportunity in 2020 as the party seeks to chip away at the GOP’s 53-47 majority in the upper chamber.

Beyond Smith, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller has also jumped into the Democratic primary to challenge Tillis. Support for Fuller was not polled in the Emerson College survey.

In a sign Republicans across the ticket may face trouble in the Tar Heel State, President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE also trails multiple Democratic challengers, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden2020 Democratic Party platform endorses Trump's NASA moon program Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Abrams: Trump 'doing his best to undermine our confidence' in voting system MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' 4 reasons why Trump can't be written off — yet Progressives lost the battle for the Democratic Party's soul MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegFormer Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over MORE in the poll.

Trump won North Carolina in 2016 by 3.6 points, and the state has trended Republican in past presidential cycles, but Democrats view the state as a top battleground for the Senate and White House next year.

Tillis, a former North Carolina state House Speaker, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 when he unseated Democrat Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's job approval erodes among groups that powered his 2016 victory MORE. Rumors have mounted of a possible primary challenge against the first-term Republican over criticisms he’s made about the Trump White House. Businessman Garland Tucker has already declared he will challenge Tillis for the GOP nomination.

Beyond North Carolina, Democrats are eyeing Republican-held Senate seats in Maine, Colorado, Iowa and Arizona.

The Emerson College poll surveyed 932 registered voters between May 31 and June 3 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.