In one sense things have not changed that much in North Carolina over the last 2 years: 57% of voters on our most recent poll of the state said the economy and jobs is the issue they're most concerned with. That's nearly identical to the 60% who cited that as their top issue the first week of October in 2008.
There's a big difference though in the direction those voters most concerned about the economy are headed with their votes this year. At this time two years ago they favored Barack Obama 60-34, Kay Hagan 59-31, and Bev Perdue 56-35. That has now changed dramatically. This time that group of voters is planning to vote for Richard Burr 49-39 and favors Republican legislative candidates by a 48-43 margin. And they're no longer too fond of those 3 Democrats they supported overwhelmingly in 2008- Obama's approval with them is 39/56, Hagan's is 35/53, and Perdue's is 34/50.
This is perhaps the story of the 2010 election, both in North Carolina and nationally, in one of its most simple forms. In 2008 the economy stunk, the Republicans were in charge, and Democrats won by a heavy margin with voters most concerned about the economy. In 2010 most voters think the economy still stinks, the Democrats are now in charge, and that big advantage they had with voters whose top issue is the economy has evaporated. That's why the GOP is headed for a big year in the state.