Thursday, August 11, 2011

Obama up in North Carolina

Our newest North Carolina Presidential poll falls into what's becoming a familiar pattern as we take the pulse of swing states across the country: Mitt Romney would be in a toss up with Barack Obama right now, while Obama holds healthy leads over the rest of the Republican field.

Obama leads Romney by 3 points in the state, 46-43. However most of the undecided voters are GOP leaning so it's probably best to think of that match up as a tie. The numbers are an improvement for Obama compared to a month ago when he and Romney were dead even. We've seen a general improvement in Obama's numbers as opposed to the Republican alternatives in the wake of the debt deal. My take on the fallout from that based on the polling we've done is that it hurt Obama's image a little bit but it probably hurt the GOP's image even more.

Obama's 3 point lead over Romney underscores another emerging reality: North Carolina is likely to play a much more important role in the Presidential race next year than it has in years. Obama's doing better against Romney here than in more quintessential swing states like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Nevada and the numbers are very comparable to places like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.

North Carolina was extremely competitive in 2008 but it was the cherry on top for Obama- he really didn't need it. With his numbers holding up better now in the state than in other places that he won by much wider margins last time around, North Carolina is a good deal more likely to be one of the states key to getting him to 270 electoral votes. It's quite a remarkable shift from 2004 when Democrats basically gave up on the state in September.

Against the rest of the GOP field Obama has pretty healthy leads- it's 8 points over Rick Perry at 48-40, 10 over Michele Bachmann at 50-40, and 13 over both Herman Cain and Sarah Palin at 50-37 and 52-39. There are a lot more undecided Republicans than Democrats in all of those match ups so the final results would probably be closer if voters really had to cast their ballots today but the margins are wide enough it's pretty safe to say that he would beat any of those four at this point in time.

Obama's approval rating is 46%, with 50% of voters disapproving of him. That's up a tick from a 45/51 spread on last month's poll but below where he's been throughout most of the year. The main thing dragging him down is that only 38% of independents are happy with the job he's doing to 56% who disapprove. It's also worth noting that in metro Charlotte, where the Democratic convention will be held next year, his approval numbers break down at a pretty poor 41/56 spread.

It looks like North Carolina's battleground days are here to stay.

Full results here


I Am Iron Man said...

As a Virginian it's quite interesting to see NC & VA turning into true swing states. Obama could possibly win in 2012 with VA & NC in his column while losing the traditional swing states like Pennsylvania & Florida.

It's exciting in a way because it means that I can have a more direct influence on the outcome of the election.

On the other hand; I think the electoral college system is terrible and I would definitely approve of the US switching to a national popular vote for President (and not just because it would have saved us from George W. Bush.)

Ranjit said...

I am iron man,

An incumbent below 50% is supposed to be good? All these polls are assuming that, African Americans, students and university liberal crowds are going to turn up ! Right now, with 15.9% unemployment in African American community and lot of students returning to the basement of their parents, the turn out will not be good like 2008 ! We saw that in Scott Brown election, governorship in Virginia & New Jersey,2010 elections and the latest wisconsin elections(milwaukee city precincts especially) !

Meanwhile, conservatives and independents are voting in huge numbers in every election from 2008 ! You do the math and you will see probable outcome of Virginia and North Carolina !

samhudson3 said...

So, holding the Dem Convention in Charlotte was a bit of crystal ball gazing? I think the Obama team is several steps ahead. This was always going to be a close election...

sportsman885 said...


A couple things...

1. Black voters only turned out 1% or so higher in 2008 than they did in 2004. It's a presidential year and they will turnout as often as they typically do.

2. The same thing with young voters. 1% greater turnout in 2008 than in 2004.

And he can afford to lose some of those voters since the 18 - 24 y/o voters are now four years older. And four years worth of new voters will enter the fold. Like the 2008 group, they will be more liberal and more diverse than their counterparts that are four years older.

In addition PPP has young voters making up only 10% of this poll's sample, so it's not like these results are skewing toward young voters.

3. You cannot compare Scott Brown's election, or off year and mid term elections or recall elections to Presidential elections. The turnout is always on another level compared to all those other races. And the more voters that participate, the more Democratic-leaning those people usually are.

Democratic-leaning voters are typically tougher to turnout, which is why Democrats don't fare as well in mid term or off year electinos.

The Original Donald said...

Iron Man, I SHUDDER to think what Al Gore would have done on 9-11

Anonymous said...

The Original Donald:
He probably would have put down the children book and taken care of business

I Am Iron Man said...

Ranjit - You are forgetting the terror of the potential GOP candidate. Admittedly if it's Romney this may not be as strong - but if someone like Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry is the GOP nominee - there will be no problems getting liberals out to vote regardless of what they feel about Obama.

Presidential years always bring out more voters which is good for Democrats.


The Original Donald - There's a good chance 9/11 wouldn't have happened if Al Gore were President. Gore would have continued with Clinton's foreign policy of focusing resources on Al Qaeda. Read what Dick Clark said about the Bush admin. ignoring the Al Qaeda threat.

Also; I'm betting one thing Al Gore wouldn't have done in response to 9/11 is attack a country that had nothing to do with it (Iraq.)

If Gore had taken over for Clinton in 2001 we wouldn't have most of the problems we have today.

Consider this list: If Al Gore Had Been President.

Ranjit said...


I agree with your analysis ! But when an incumbent is having such disapproval numbers, always it helps the opposing candidate ! Moreover, when that enthusiasm goes down, that can amount to easy 2 % or 3% swing! The student, who makes that phone call or that student standing in the street corner trying to register new voters and so on ! Remember that, lost time Obama won North Carolina by 10,000 votes ! I attribute that, to the triangle area and the student's enthusiasm ! When things are going bad, people just don't turn up ! Obama tried so hard going to BET for the midterm elections and other election and they did not turn up ! I just have a gut feeling that, African American numbers will be 2 or 3% lower than 2008 ! That will be a huge swing !

North carolina will go back to Bush numbers which should be around a difference of 7% to 11 % win for republican candidate !

Texas Aggie said...

What would Gore have done on 9/11?

If Gore had been president, the terrorists would have been thwarted because he would have taken an interest in the CIA report saying that al Qaeda was planning an attack on the US. So 9/11 would have been just another day and there would have been no need to do anything special.

JPNewJersey said...

ll. In 2008, the turnout was 42 percent Democratic, 31 percent Republican and 27 percent independent. The PPP poll’s sample is of 48 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican and 18 percent independent. PPP’s poll probably overestimates Democratic turnout and underestimates the independents, which have broken against Obama in every national poll.

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