From: Dean Debnam and Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling
To: Interested Parties
Subject: Obama well positioned to win North Carolina again
As Barack Obama visits North Carolina today a new Public Policy Polling survey of the state finds that he’s well positioned to repeat his surprise victory there from 2008, and that the state is likely to play the most important role it has in the Presidential race in decades. Key findings from the poll include:
-Obama’s approval numbers are on positive ground with 49% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. 3 key things stand out. The first is his 35% standing with white voters, showing almost no decline from the 37% of the white vote he won in 2008. Obama is seeing much less slippage with white voters in North Carolina than he is nationally. The second is that he is on narrowly positive ground with independents at 47/46. That is a sharp departure from the poor numbers he had with that key voting bloc for most of the last two years. The third is that his approval rating with voters under 30 is a remarkable 76%, suggesting that voters new to the electorate in 2012 are likely to be strong Obama supporters.
-Obama leads head to head match ups with all of his top potential Republican opponents. A race with Mitt Romney would be a toss up, as Obama leads him 45-44. The President would start out with healthier advantages against the rest of the GOP field: 7 points over Tim Pawlenty at 47-40, 10 over Newt Gingrich at 50-40, 11 over Herman Cain at 48-37, and 14 over Sarah Palin at 52-38.
-The Republican candidate field is unpopular in North Carolina and beyond the President’s decent approval numbers that’s the main thing fueling his early leads. All the GOP contenders we tested have under water favorability spreads: 35/44 for Romney, 20/28 for Cain, 23/37 for Pawlenty, 31/62 for Palin, and 23/58 for Gingrich.
-North Carolina is likely to be much more important to the Presidential race next year than it was in 2008. Obama’s approval numbers in North Carolina are superior to what we’re finding for him in your quintessential swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. While North Carolina was one of the closest states in the country in 2008, it was really just the cherry on top for Obama in an electoral landslide. This time it could very well be part of the path to 270 electoral votes for the President.
North Carolina is never going to be a cakewalk for Obama, especially if Romney is the nominee, but the state should be very competitive again in 2012. PPP surveyed 563 registered voters from June 8th to 11th with a margin of error of +/-4.1%.
Full results here