Conservative Democrats might be the most powerful group of voters in North Carolina. When they decide to stick with the party- like they did for the most part last fall- Democrats win up and down the ballot in North Carolina. When a lot of them cross over and vote Republican, as has been the case particularly in many federal races over the last 30+ years, their support allows GOP candidates to overcome the party's large registration gap in the state.
So six months into a new administration and on the dawn of what seems likely to be another hotly contested Senate election in the state, what is this important bloc thinking about things?
They're giving the President pretty good reviews- a 64% approval rating with 29% disapproving.
The economy has a lot to do with that. Many socially conservative Democrats in the state who might usually have voted Republican because their values are at odds with national Democrats stuck with Obama last fall because their overwhelming concern was getting the economy turned around. 50% of conservative Democrats still say the economy is their top issue and that's a good thing for Obama because among the 14% who say it's moral and family values his approval is only 27%.
Looking at it from another angle, only 21% of conservative Dems think that gays should be able to serve openly in the military. But they still like Obama anyway. His ability to hold onto those folks is going to be predicated on getting the economy turned around though, because if he can't produce results there his divergent views from them on social issues might become a bigger problem.
Tomorrow we'll look at where Richard Burr is in terms of getting the crossover support he needs from this group for reelection.