RALEIGH — Democrats are in the lead with likely voters as the general election draws even nearer. Less than two weeks from the general election, a new poll shows Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and State Sen. Kay Hagan (D-Guilford) leading their Republican opponents by seven points.

An Oct. 20 Public Policy Polling report showed that likely voters chose Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 53-44. In the U.S. Senate race, Hagan led incumbent Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) 49-41.

The Democrats’ seven-point lead is well ahead of the 2.8 percent margin of error. The poll was taken Oct. 18-19 and surveyed 1,200 likely voters.

Among white voters, McCain leads Obama 55-39. In 2004, George W. Bush garnered two-thirds of the white vote. Obama commands 82 percent of the Democratic vote, a lead Public Policy Polling said “would almost certainly ensure a victory in North Carolina.”

“A lot of folks thought North Carolina might revert right back to the Republican column after John McCain started really contesting here, but Barack Obama is holding strong,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Assuming that the black vote is pretty much fixed McCain needs to add about ten points to his lead among white voters in the next two weeks if he’s going to win the state.”

Public Policy Polling is expected to release data on the gubernatorial and Council of State races later today.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.