Buoyed by an extensive television advertising campaign Richard Burr has opened up a 49-36 lead over Elaine Marshall in North Carolina's US Senate race, with Libertarian Michael Beitler at 4%.
The main thing Burr's done over the last four weeks is consolidate the Republican base. He now has an 88-1 lead with voters in his own party compared to just 75-9 in late August. He's also increased his lead with independents from 20 points to 25 points and pushed his Democratic support from 16% to 20%.
Burr had posted net negative approval numbers in every PPP poll from February through August but in the wake of this recent blitz he's now pushed them into positive territory at 47% approving and 38% disapproving. Burr has broken the previous record for his highest approval number in PPP's polling by a wide margin- the previous best was 42% in December of 2009.
Marshall continues to be plagued by comparatively low name recognition. It's worth noting that among respondents who have an opinion of Marshall, whether it's positive or negative, she actually leads Burr 47-45. Those numbers suggest that if she was competitive with Burr resources wise this would be a toss up race.
Of course the main reason Burr's lead has expanded over the last month is that at this point the candidates' resources are not comparable. Asked who they feel has been running the more visible campaign 54% of respondents say Burr to only 19% who say Marshall. The reality is that Burr's money is allowing him to have almost complete control of the information flow to voters so even though Marshall is one of the more well liked Senate candidates Democrats have across the country she's still having trouble keeping up.
On another note despite Libertarian Beitler's limited support 56% of voters think that he should be included in all of the debates to 22% who think he should not and 22% who are unsure. Support for Beitler's inclusion comes from slight majorities of Democrats (54%) and Republicans (51%) and an overwhelming portion of independents (71%).
The race will likely tighten again once Marshall is able to start running ads to combat Burr's but for now he finds himself in his strongest position of the entire cycle.
Full results here