North Carolina Senate race has tightened up with Republican Sen. Richard Burr maintaining only a slight lead over his Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall, according to a new poll.
Burr leads Marshall by a 39 to 37 percent margin, according to a new survey released by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh. Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler has the support of 7 percent, Rob Christensen reports.
The race has tightened up since the last PPP survey showed Burr up by five points.
The survey of 524 North Carolina voters was conducted July 27-31 and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.
The Senate race is closer at this point than the 2008 Senate race, when Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole was leading her Democratic challenger Kay Hagan by a 49 to 40 percent margin.
The survey found that the race is closing up because the public perception of Burr has declined, with 32 percent approving of his job performance and 44 percent disapproving.
The poll was taken after the airing of an extensive TV campaign paid for by labor and environmental groups tying Burr to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and oil companies.
Burr now has the second lowest approval rating among Republican senators up for re-election after Arizona Sen. John McCain, and the third lowest among all incumbents facing re-election after Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, according to the poling firm.
Marshall is still largely unknown across the state with 58 percent saying they have no opinion of her.