Richard Burr's approval numbers this month are the worst they've been since PPP started tracking it with 41% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 32% who think he's doing a good job. Burr nevertheless continues to lead his Democratic opponents by 6-8 points.
Burr's standing is largely a function of falling favor from independents, reflecting their general disgust with politicians of both parties. 43% of them give Burr poor marks to just 31% who feel he's doing a good job. Republicans continue to be a little lukewarm toward him as well, with 57% expressing approval.
Despite Burr's bad numbers he continues to be favored for reelection this fall, leading Elaine Marshall 43-37 and Cal Cunningham and Ken Lewis by 43-35 margins. In a finding that nicely summarizes the current strange state of politics, Burr holds a 20-27 point lead against each of his opponents with independent voters even though a plurality of them disapprove of him. They might not like Burr but they like the idea of another Democratic Senator even less.
With uncertainty about who the party's nominee will end up being, there continue to be a lot more undecided Democrats than Republicans. That suggests this race could tighten up further once the party is unified around a candidate.
Burr is clearly the most vulnerable Republican running for reelection this year, but Democratic incumbents went undefeated in their party's strong election years of 2006 and 2008 and the same could prove to be true for GOP Senators this year. But Burr's status does virtually ensure this race will draw a lot of national attention. So far the polling has closely mirrored what we saw for Elizabeth Dole in 2008. What we find once the nominees are set will give us a clearer idea of whether we're headed for a repeat performance in 2010.
Full results here