Barack Obama's popularity rise has come to North Carolina. For the first time since December of 2009 PPP finds more voters in the state approving than disapproving of him, at a 49/47 spread.
Increased optimism about the economy in the state is helping Obama's revival. Last March a majority of voters in the state at 51% felt their personal economic situation had gotten worse since Obama took office compared to only 10% who thought it had improved. Now the portion feeling things have gotten worse for them is down to 47% and the one thinking things have gotten better is up to 16% with 37% expressing the sentiment that there's been no change for them since the President was inaugurated.
In addition to voters reflecting more positively now on what has happened with the economy over the last two years, they're also more optimistic about where things are going to be a year from now. A year ago 35% thought the economy would be worse now than it was then compared to just 27% who thought things would get better. Now there are equal numbers at 30% each who think things will be improved in January 2012 from where they are now. Voters in the state still aren't terribly optimistic about where things are going, but they're at least more optimistic than they have been.
Obama's gain in popularity has been fueled by voters in the center. A year ago his approval rating with moderates was 59%. Now it's up to 69%. This improvement in his standing, along with the lukewarm reaction of voters in the state to the leading 2012 Republican Presidential contenders, has him in position to repeat his surprise North Carolina victory from 2008. He leads the four most likely GOP contenders at this point by margins ranging anywhere from 3 to 9 points in this month's poll.
Mitt Romney comes the closest to Obama this time, trailing 47-44. Mike Huckabee is next, with a 49-45 deficit. Newt Gingrich is down 50-44 and and Sarah Palin as usual fares the weakest of the GOP hopefuls trailing Obama by nine points at 50-41.
It's safe to say Republicans have no chance at taking back the White House next year without winning North Carolina. Obviously the election is 21 months away but the President's resurgence here is a very bad sign for the GOP.
Full results here