Challenger Harvey B. Gantt has opened up a lead of 49 percent to 41 percent over incumbent Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., according to a poll published in today's editions of the Charlotte Observer.
The telephone poll of 596 likely voters was taken Monday through Thursday by KPC Research of Charlotte, which also conducts The Sun Poll in Maryland. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Most earlier polls -- including polls conducted two to four weeks ago for the Charlotte Observer, the Greensboro News & Record and the Raleigh News and Observer -- showed Mr. Helms and Mr. Gantt in exact or virtual ties. But a new poll released Wednesday, conducted by Hickman-Maslin Research for the National Abortion Rights Action League, showed Mr. Gantt ahead by 47 percent to 43 percent.