North Carolina voted heavily Republican in Presidential races most years from 1980 until last year, when Barack Obama won a surprising victory in the state. Why the sudden shift? A new PPP poll looking at the perceptions of North Carolinians about the Presidents since 1980 may give a clue.
Ronald Reagan gets the most votes for the most popular President in the state during that period of time at 44%. But George W. Bush gets the nod as the least well liked President over that time at 43%. The massive downward shift in popularity of Republican Presidents from Reagan to Bush may go a long way toward explaining the Democratic resurgence at the federal level for the state in 2008.
Barack Obama finishes second in the most popular category at 29%, followed by Bill Clinton at 18%. Those two get second and third spots in the least popular category as well, at 26% and 21% respectively.
Overall these numbers are a good prism into how politically competitive this state is. 53% of respondents picked a Republican as their favorite with 47% choosing a Democrat. But 53% also chose a Republican as their least favorite with the Democrats at 47%. Taken overall those numbers are basically a wash between the two parties. It's just another indicator that North Carolina should be pretty competitive at the Presidential level in the years to come.
Full results here