Barack Obama 49
John McCain 46
Bob Barr 1
Barack Obama continues to hold a small lead in North Carolina, although it is down from six points last week.
The McCain campaign has just recently started to really contest the race here, with the candidate making his first appearance in the state in five months yesterday. He has also ratcheted up his advertising, which seems to be having a mixed effect on his poll numbers. Independents, who may be turned off by the negativity of his campaign, have moved more toward Obama in the last week. What was a 46-40 lead with them is now a 52-37 advantage for the Democrat.
They may be helping on some fronts though. There has been six points of movement in McCain's direction among Democratic voters since the last poll, with what was an 82-15 advantage for Obama now down to 79-18. Obama's standing in the state had improved with each passing week as more conservative Democrats who sometimes choose Republicans for Preisdent had moved toward his camp. With McCain's campaign now trying even harder than usual to paint Obama as an extremist that may be having the effect of helping to get more of those folks to cross over to the Republican candidate.
Obama's unusually strong standing here continues to be fueled by voters in suburbia. They voted for George W. Bush in 2004 but Obama leads with them 57-39 this time around. That's the fastest growing group of the electorate in North Carolina, and if they continue to lean Democratic the state is going to be competitive at the national level for cycles to come.
Democrats had hoped that Bob Barr might play the role of spoiler here and take enough support away from John McCain that Obama could win the state with just 48 or 49% of the vote, but the Libertarian candidate has pretty much ceased to be a factor here.
The economy is polling as the top issue for a new record high of North Carolina voters: 65%. Obama leads 59-36 with those voters.
Full results here