North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole holds the edge in her bid this year for a second term. But fluctuating polls over the month and a half since state Sen. Kay Hagan won the May 6 Democratic primary have raised questions about how solid and secure Dole is in her status as the favorite.
Hagan defeated four primary opponents with 60 percent of the vote, a strong showing that boosted her into a statistical tie with Dole in a poll taken shortly thereafter. A more recent survey released June 18 showed Dole with a more substantial cushion, but her 48 percent to 38 percent in that poll did not suggest that the contest is out of reach for the longshot challenger.
Dole enjoys near-universal name ID in the state where she was born and grew up before heading to Washington for a career that culminated in her appointments as secretary of Labor and secretary of Transportation by Republican presidents. She has national prominence as the wife of retired longtime Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican nominee for president, and she staged a brief bid for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination.