Mitt Romney has jumped to an eight point lead over President Barack Obama in North Carolina; the two were in a statistical dead heat last month when Obama trailed by only two points.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Tar Heel State shows the presumptive Republican nominee earning 51 percent of the vote to Obama’s 43 percent. Two percent prefer some other candidate and four percent are undecided.
Democrats chose Charlotte, North Carolina, to hold their national convention this summer, evidence the DNC considers it a key swing state.
Last month Romney posted a smaller 46 percent to 44 percent lead over the president in Rasmussen Reports’ first survey of the race in North Carolina.
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 the most important issue in the upcoming election in all major polls, 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 being in poor shape.
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.
Obama clipped Republican John McCain 50 percent to 49 percent in the 2008 election to become the first Democrat to carry North Carolina since Jimmy Carter. Now 46 percent approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 54 percent disapprove. Obama’s disapproval 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.
While Obama’s numbers seem to be sliding overall, in combined polling of the key swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, the President still holds a slight advantage over Romney. The president also leads Romney in Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, and New Mexico. Romney and Obama are roughly tied in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and Obama trails Romney in Missouri, Montana, Arizona, and Nebraska.
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.