Politics & Government

Poll finds N. Carolinian who slammed liberals now behind

North Carolina Congressman Robin Hayes, reeling from recent remarks about "Liberals hating real Americans," has lost his lead in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District race.

Hayes trails Democrat Larry Kissell 51-46 in a poll released Tuesday by Raleigh's Public Policy Polling. In its last NC-8 poll in August, PPP had the incumbent Hayes leading by five points.

Hayes, in a warmup to John McCain's speech Oct. 18 in Concord, told the crowd: "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."

The Hayes campaign initially said the congressman denied making the remark, but after being confronted with tapes of the remarks, the campaign released a statement acknowledging the remark.

At a debate hosted by the Independent Tribune of Kannapolis last week, Hayes pivoted again, saying he was denying only the context of how the remarks were presented to him.

U.S. News and World Report later cited an internal House GOP document saying Hayes re-election bid was among those considered "likely gone." In response, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman told the Observer's Lisa Zagaroli that the party had not written off Hayes.

PPP's Tom Jensen, who conducts polls for Democratic candidates and other organizations, reports that Kissell had gained signficant ground since August with voters in his party, moving from 62-19 to 78-20. He's also improved with independents, turning a 43-27 deficit into a tie, 45-45.

Related stories from McClatchy DC