Obama Struggles in Key Swing State of North Carolina

Tuesday, 24 Apr 2012 11:54 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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North Carolina and its 15 Electoral College votes represent an important prize for President Barack Obama, which he won in 2008.

But things aren’t looking so great for Obama this time around in the pivotal swing state, starting with the fact that his approval rating among voters has dropped below 45 percent in the Tar Heel State, and North Carolina’s unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent, Politico reports.

In addition, Republicans won control of both houses of the state legislature from the Democrats in 2010. And a former top state Democratic official recently quit after allegations that he sexually harassed a male staffer. The enthusiasm generated for Obama in his historic 2008 victory is gone, especially among younger voters.

“The biggest challenge he faces is the fact that it’s not like the first time, in the sense that everybody was jumping on board [in 2008]. It was an opportunity to do something new, to elect the first African-American president,” Durham Mayor William Bell, an Obama supporter, told Politico.

To be sure, North Carolina remains up for grabs. The state’s voters aren’t exactly going nuts over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and the president is mounting a major effort to repeat his 2008 performance.

Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling conducted a survey earlier this month showing Obama ahead 49 percent to 44 percent over Romney. But a Rasmussen Reports survey showed Romney leading by 46 percent to 44 percent.

Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, sees the race being won by a two or three percentage point margin at most. “I think Romney’s chances are very good,” he told Politico.

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