For the fifth month in a row Barack Obama's approval rating has declined in North Carolina. A 51% majority of voters in the state now say they disapprove of his job performance while 45% give him good marks.
Obama's NC approval peaked at 54% in April. Since then it's gone to 51% in May, 50% in June, 49% in July, and 46% in August.
The two main places where Obama's losing support are with white Democrats and independents. After winning 71% of the white Democratic vote last fall, he actually bolstered his support with that demographic in the first half of 2009, pushing his approval with them up to 78% in our April poll. But now it stands at just 64%.
There's not much doubt health care is driving Obama's troubles on that front. There is literally no support for him on the issue with the white Democrats who disapprove of his job performance- 46 who fit that label say they're opposed to what Obama wants to do on health care and one is unsure.
Our final poll last fall had Obama winning the independent vote 50-46 and our April poll found that exact same spread in his approval. Now his positive standing with that group has declined to 39% with 56% of them disapproving of how he's doing.
How does Obama get out of this rut? It really is all about the economy. Increased turnout from African Americans and young voters certainly played a big part in Obama winning the state last year, but he still couldn't have done it without doing better with white Democrats and independents than recent nominees had.
He was able to do that largely because the economy had gotten so bad under Republican control that those voters figured there was a better chance of it getting turned around with a new party in power.
Some economists may be saying that the recession is over but most families are still feeling it in their every day life. If that begins to move in a positive direction over the next six months, Obama's approval rating more than likely will as well. But if it doesn't the slow creep downward could continue.
There's been no real movement in public opinion about health care over the last month. 40% of voters say they support Obama on the issue while 52% are opposed. In August that broke down 39/50.
Full results here