Ahead of the DNC gathering in Charlotte, a number of organizations are out today with new polls on the race in North Carolina. PPP has the race in the Tarheel State tied, although they use a D+13 sample to get there. High Point University uses a D+8 sample and shows Romney with a 3 point lead. Elon University and the Charlotte Observer have a poll with a D+6 sample and show Romney with a 4 point lead. Do you sense a pattern here?
The most interesting finding is in the Elon University poll. The poll was conducted from over 1,000 likely voters. Almost half, 48%, named the "economy and jobs" as the most important issue this November. Among those likely voters, Mitt Romney has a massive 18 point edge over Obama, leading 55-37. Among all voters Romney leads by 13 on the question of which candidate would better handle the economy.
Among other key findings:
- Obama only has the support of 62% of likely voters identifying themselves as "Democrat" (He has 96% of support from "Strong Democrats"), with 23% supporting Romney. By contrast, Romney has the support of 85% of "Republicans" and 97% of "Strong Republicans." Now, North Carolina is a state where lots of voters still call themselves Democrat even though their actual voting has long shifted away from the party. That said, that is still a weak showing for Obama.
- Obama only has the support of 80% of voters who voted for him in 2008. 8% of those voters are undecided. Romney has support from 90% of voters who voted for McCain.
- Obama is suffering from a huge gender gap. Romney leads among me by 12 points, 52-40. Obama leads women by just 1, 45-44.
- Romney leads Obama by 21 points among high school graduates, 55-34 and 16 points among voters with some college or technical training, 53-37. Obama leads college graduates by 2, 46-44 and those with graduate degrees by 13, 54-39.
The Democrats made a big bet selecting Charlotte to host their convention. Obama won the state by 14,000 votes in 2008 and planned to make the state an important part of his reelection campaign. But, taking today's poll dump and factoring in the Democrat bias in the samples, the state is clearly moving towards Romney.
We've had months of media distraction focused on issues other than the economy. Yet, half of North Carolina likely voters list the economy as the most important issue this election. If that sentiment holds through November, Romney's 18-point margin among these voters will be all but impossible for Obama to overcome.
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