I've had several people ask me: 'Why is the DSCC spending so much money on Kay Hagan? Isn't Elizabeth Dole unbeatable?'
They're saying that because Dole is up by a good amount in the polls right now. But what they're forgetting is that she only regained her solid standing after a large and very early media buy during the month of June. Before that Hagan had cut the lead to less than five points in most polls.
You might think her poll numbers in early May, coming right off of an active primary campaign, could have been the peak for Hagan. But remember that Elizabeth Dole was not getting bloodied up at all then- Hagan moved up based entirely on a campaign that accentuated her positives.
There are plenty of good lines of attack on Dole, and I think the early ad talking about her #93 effectiveness ranking was one of the better on air efforts of the political season. Now Hagan's up, a good three months before the election.
It's pretty darn unusual to knock off an incumbent without running a strong negative campaign, and third parties are starting to do that on her behalf. Given that Hagan showed she could be competitive with Dole in May polls even before the heat was turned up on her opponent, I think the DSCC's investment is a wise one.
Another thing I've heard: 'well sure there will be negative ads against Dole, but won't there be against Hagan too?' There probably will be, but when you have the name recognition gap Hagan does relative to Dole I think this is a case where really all publicity will be good publicity for the challenger.
Should be interesting to watch...there's enough going on that I'm ready for us to go back to weekly NC tracking polls! But we will probably wait until September for that.