For the second year in a row the economy is the top issue for North Carolina voters as 2009 comes to a close, with health care making the biggest gain from the end of 2008 to the end of this year.
The economy and jobs registers as the main concern for 54% of voters in the state, down from 60% in December of 2008 but still in first place by a wide margin. Coming in second place is health care at 12%, a big move from a year ago when it was only the fifth most important issue to voters in the state, registering at 4%. Moral and family values and education are tied for third at 10%, relatively unchanged from where they were a year ago.
Looking back two years, to December of 2007, you see a larger shift in North Carolinians' issue concerns. Immigration was the choice of 11% of voters then but has basically disappeared for voters as a top issue, all the way down to 2%. The war in Iraq was actually the biggest issue for the state's residents at the end of 2007 at 30% but has fallen now to 5%.
As the economy became a bigger and bigger issue for voters in the state over the course of 2008 Barack Obama and Kay Hagan's poll numbers got better and better. But voters are seeing it now more as the Democratic economy than the Republican economy and if folks aren't feeling better about things this time next year Richard Burr will likely be getting ready for his second term and the GOP will have made gains in the General Assembly.
2009 issue results here, 2008 issue results here, 2007 results here