Mitt Romney has moved out to an eight-point lead over President Barack Obama in North Carolina after the two men were virtually tied a month ago.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Tar Heel State shows the putative Republican nominee earning 51 percent of the vote to Obama’s 43 percent. Two percent like some other candidate, and four percent are undecided.
That’s a big change from last month when Romney posted a narrow 46 percent to 44 percent lead over the president in Rasmussen Reports’ first survey of the race in North Carolina. Democrats have signaled North Carolina’s importance as a key swing state by deciding to hold their national convention in Charlotte this summer.
Romney has held a slight lead over the president nationally for over a week now in the daily Presidential Tracking Poll following the release of a disappointing jobs report for April.
Voters nationally regard the economy as far and away the most important issue in the upcoming election, and just 11 percent of North Carolina voters now describe the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Forty-seven percent rate it as poor. Thirty-one percent say the economy is getting better, but 41 percent think it is getting worse.
The president leads overwhelmingly among those who give the economy positive marks, while Romney is far ahead among the much larger group that views the economy as poor.
Eighty-eight percent of North Carolina Republicans now support Romney, compared to 76 percent of Democrats in the state who back Obama. Nearly one-in-five North Carolina Democrats (18 percent) now favor the Republican. The GOP challenger holds a modest 49 percent to 45 percent lead among voters not affiliated with either party, but the two men were tied with 38 percent support each among this group a month ago.
The survey of 500 Likely Voters in North Carolina was conducted on May 14, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is pluse or minus 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Last week, 61 percent of North Carolina voters last week approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between only a man and a woman. The next night, Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly endorse gay marriage. At the same time, North Carolina’s Democratic Party is embroiled in a divisive leadership spat.
Obama edged Republican John McCain 50 percent to 49 percent in the 2008 election to become the first Democrat to carry North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Now 46 percent approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 54 percent disapprove. The latter finding is up four points from a month ago. The new numbers include 28 percent who Strongly Approve of the president’s job performance and 45 percent who Strongly Disapprove.
Fifty-four percent of voters in the state share a favorable opinion of Romney, including 23 percent who regard him Very Favorably. The former Massachusetts governor is seen unfavorably by 43 percent, with 23 percent who hold a Very Unfavorable view of him. This marks an increase of several points in both his Very Favorables and Very Unfavorables from last month.
Just 22 percent of Tar Heel voters think the federal government has the constitutional authority to force everyone in the country to buy or obtain health insurance, a central element of the president’s national health care plan. Forty-three percent at least somewhat favor a law that includes such a mandate, while 53 percent are at least somewhat opposed. This includes 19% who Strongly Favor the law and 38 percent who Strongly Oppose it.
Obama earns 75 percent support from those who Strongly Favor such a law. Ninety percent of those who Strongly Oppose it prefer Romney.
Fifty-two percent of all North Carolina voters would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the national health care law, while 35 percent would rather see the high court uphold the legality of the measure. Forty-eight percent believe the court will overturn the law, but 32 percent think it will be upheld. Those numbers are similar to the national average.
In combined polling of the key swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, Obama holds a slight edge over Romney. The president also leads Romney in Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, and New Mexico. He is nearly tied with his GOP challenger in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania but trails him in Missouri, Montana, Arizona, and Nebraska.
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