It looks like North Carolina is headed for a pretty competitive election year in 2010.
PPP's newest round of generic ballot polling for legislative and Congressional races in the state finds tight margins on both fronts. By a 45-44 spread voters say they plan to vote Republican for the legislature and by a nearly identical 45-43 margin they say they'll vote for GOP Congressional candidates.
Republicans are polling closely in a state with a heavy Democratic registration advantage for two key reasons. The first is support from independents. They say they'll vote Republican for the legislature by a 48-27 margin and for Congress by a 48-29 margin. The second is that GOP voters are more unified than Democrats are. While 88% of Republicans commit to voting for their party's legislative candidates only 79% of Democrats do. On the federal level 90% of Republicans are on board with the party compared to 77% of Democrats.
Conservative Democrats often swing close elections in North Carolina by whether they stick with their party or stray, and their current choices provide a prism into why the state looks so competitive right now. They're only committing to voting Democratic by a 48-42 margin for Congress and a 46-42 one for the Legislature. When you combine that kind of crossover support for Republicans with their current advantage with independents you have the right conditions for the GOP to have its best election cycle in the state in quite a long time. We'll see whether they can take advantage of it or not.
Full results here