Democratic challenger leads Tillis by 1 point in North Carolina poll

Democratic challenger leads Tillis by 1 point in North Carolina poll
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist MORE (R-N.C.) is nearly tied with his Democratic challenger as he runs for reelection in North Carolina, according to a left-leaning pollster.

Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) leads Tillis by 41 percent to 40 percent, according to a survey released to The Hill from Public Policy Polling. 

The poll also showed Tillis's approval ratings in the state to be underwater, with 23 percent of North Carolina voters saying they approved of the way he does his job in the Senate, and 46 percent saying they disapproved. 

Cunningham, a veteran of the Iraq War who served as an Army prosecutor, is the third Democrat to enter the race against Tillis. 

A previous poll from Emerson College released earlier this month showed Tillis also trailing North Carolina state Sen. Erica Smith (D), another of his Democratic challengers, by 39 percent to 46 percent. 

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller is Tillis's third challenger. 

Tillis is seen as one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the upper chamber, making Democrats hopeful they can make inroads in the Tar Heel State. Former President Obama won the state in 2008, but Republicans Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE won it in 2012 and 2016.

Republicans currently have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is set on keeping it in 2020.

The Public Policy Poll was commissioned by VoteVets and was conducted on June 17-18, among 610 North Carolina voters. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.