Barack Obama isn't all that popular in North Carolina...but neither are most of the leading Republican Presidential contenders for 2012. Because of that if the election was held today Obama would be right in contention to win the state again when he comes up for reelection.
Obama's approval rating in the state is 45%, with 51% of voters disapproving. That makes him a lot more popular than Sarah Palin (36/55 favorability spread), a little more popular than Newt Gingrich (34/43), and about the same as Mitt Romney (33/38). The only one of the Republicans who gets significantly better reviews from North Carolina voters than Obama is Mike Huckabee, who 44% in the state have a positive opinion of to just 31% with a negative one.
Huckabee is also the only one of the Republicans who Obama trails in a hypothetical reelection contest. The former Arkansas Governor edges him 48-44. Huckabee does the best job both of unifying Republican voters (87% support from them) and earning crossover support from Democratic voters (winning over 21% of them.)
Beyond Huckabee though Obama does about the same or even better than he did against John McCain against the rest of the Republican contenders. He holds Mitt Romney to a 44-44 draw, has the slightest of edges over Newt Gingrich at 46-45, and leads Sarah Palin by a 48-43 spread.
Obama trails by 4-13 points with independents in all four of the match ups but that's really not bad given that most Democrats in competitive races across the state this year lost those folks by about a 2:1 margin. The bigger problem for Obama might be that he's polling in the low to mid 70s with Democrats against all of the Republicans except for Palin, an indication that he still has some work to do with conservative Democrats between now and 2012.
Still in the big picture these are good numbers for Obama. Some were quick to look at the 2010 results in North Carolina and say Obama would have no chance to win here again in 2012 but the reality is that a huge part of the Republican victories was Democrats staying at home and that's not likely to happen again the next time around. If Republicans can't get a better candidate than Palin, Romney, or Gingrich and the Obama wave voters from 2008 get reenergized he has at least a 50/50 chance of starting a Democratic winning streak at the Presidential level in North Carolina.
Full results here