Barack Obama trailed in the polls in North Carolina for most of last year, until the financial crisis really heated up in September. If you had to point to a single reason for his difficulty it would probably be the fact that he was having trouble shoring up support within his own party.
In our last three polls before mid-September Obama was receiving 69, 73, and 76 percent of the Democratic vote, losing many of the conservative Democrats to John McCain that had precluded the party's Presidential candidate from taking the state since 1976.
When the economy started really going bad a good portion of Democrats who might have voted against Obama because of his stances on social issues or even his race ended up deciding to give him their support based on pocketbook issues. Our final three polls before the election showed him winning 79, 81, and 82% of the Democratic vote.
I've been interested since Obama took office to see if he's holding up that level of support within his own party, and more specifically from conservative Democrats. And the answer is a definite yes.
On our last three approval polls Obama has had 82, 84, and 85% levels of approval from Democrats. That's better than he did at the polls, so it means he's held on not only to the folks who were leaning against him until the financial crisis but is also earning approval from some people within his party who didn't vote for him last fall.
His approval rating among conservative Democrats is 60%, perhaps not great, but a better standing than most national Democratic politicians have had with that group over the years.
It all adds up to a 54% approval rating.