Barack Obama's annual summer polling swoon has come to North Carolina. For the first time since February more voters disapprove than approve of him in the state, and for the first time since November he faces majority disapproval. His approval rating this month is down to 45%, with 51% of voters unhappy with him.
A sharp turn against him with independent voters is what's causing Obama problems in the state. Last month they narrowly gave him good marks by a 47/46 margin but now only 36% are happy with him while 62% disapprove. Obama's approval with Democrats is 77%, generally on par with what it's been over the course of his time in office. And even though receiving only 5% approval from Republicans is pretty bad for Obama it's also nothing new- he's had little crossover popularity with GOP voters since the day he took office.
Obama's declining popularity also means he's not doing as well in head to head match ups against possible Republican opponents for next year. He is now tied with Mitt Romney at 45%. Although the margins were usually small he had led Romney all eight previous times PPP polled a match up between the two of them in the state. The key here is again those independent voters- they give Romney a 17 point advantage at 50-33.
Obama does lead the rest of the Republican field but with the exception of Sarah Palin his advantages are modest: he's up 3 against Michele Bachmann at 46-43, 4 against Herman Cain at 46-42, 5 against Tim Pawlenty at 46-41, and 8 against Palin at 50-42.
The reality for Obama is worse than those topline numbers indicate. In all of the match ups the vast majority of undecideds disapprove of the job Obama's doing- it's 84% against Palin, 83% against Pawlenty, 81% against Cain, 77% against Bachmann, and 74% against Romney. In all likelihood most of those undecideds would not be in Obama's camp if they really had to vote today but are on the fence at this point while they wait to see who the GOP nominee is. If their votes broke the same direction as their feelings about the President that would leave him trailing all of them except for Palin.
If there is a saving grace for Obama it's that voters don't respond well to any of the Republican candidates on a personal level either. Bachmann has the best favorability numbers but it's still a -8 spread at 34/42. She's followed by Cain's -12 at 24/36, Romney's -15 at 32/47, Pawlenty's -21 at 19/40, and Palin's -22 at 35/57. The Republicans' poll numbers all have two things in common: independents dislike them and Democratic voters are more unified in disliking all of them than Republicans are in liking them. If the GOP had an appealing set of candidates Obama would likely be in a far worse position in the state.
This is the third key swing state in the last week, along with New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, where we've found Obama with under water approval numbers and struggling in head to heads with Romney. Obama's poll numbers have seemed to go bad every summer since he went to the heart of the American spotlight and they usually see some recovery- he'll have to hope that will be the case again this time around.
Full results here