Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama in North Carolina

With Democratic fortunes declining nationally it should perhaps come as no surprise that Barack Obama has now hit his lowest level of approval yet in North Carolina. 44% of voters like the job he's doing to 50% who are unhappy with him.

Obama's lower numbers are due largely to movement among independents. They've been pretty evenly divided about him through most of his first year in office but are now splitting against him by a 61/33 margin. As has always been the case most Democrats (73%) approve the job he's doing while most Republicans (88%) don't. Obama's health care plan continues to be unpopular in North Carolina as well, with 53% of voters opposed to it and only 38% supportive.

You might wonder how relevant Obama's approval rating is at this point when he doesn't have to stand before the voters for another 33 months- but Richard Burr's fate this year is inextricably tied up in Obama's. When the President's approval rating has gone down, Burr's generic ballot lead has gone up. In months when Obama's approval rating has improved, Burr's standing has looked more perilous.

Consider this- last June when Obama's approval was a net +7, Burr trailed a generic Democrat by 3 points. Now with Obama at a -6, Burr leads by 9. There's been virtually no change in Burr's approval numbers over that time. Whether Burr gets reelected or not in November may have less to do with his own approval rating than Obama's.

Full results here

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