Local Politics

WRAL News poll: Presidential race dead heat in NC

Posted May 22, 2012

— President Barack Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney are in a virtual tie for North Carolina's 15 electoral votes in this fall's election, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.

SurveyUSA polled 524 likely voters statewide between Friday and Monday and found that 45 percent would vote for Romney and 44 percent for Obama if the election were held now. Six percent remain undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

A month ago, a WRAL News poll had Obama leading in North Carolina by four points, 47 to 43 percent. That poll included registered voters, however, which is a larger group than likely voters.

"The president has had his support eroding (in North Carolina)," said David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh. "He's got a big task in front of him."

There are clear divisions between the two candidates along racial and gender lines in the latest poll. Romney, for example, is preferred by male voters by a 51 to 38 percent margin, while Obama is favored by female voters by 50 to 40 percent, according to the poll.

Obama would carry more than 80 percent of the black vote in North Carolina, the poll shows, but Romney holds a 56 to 35 percent edge among white voters and an even larger lead – 52 to 27 percent – among Hispanic voters.

Eighteen percent of Democrats surveyed said they favor Romney, which is three times the number of Republican who would cross over to vote for Obama, according to the poll.

Prof: Obama needs to focus on economy to halt NC erosion

Independent voters break Romney's direction, 45 to 32 percent, according to the poll, but voters who identify themselves as moderate go for Obama by a 48 to 37 percent margin. Obama also is preferred by both upper- and low-income voters, while Romney holds the edge among the middle-class in the poll.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said a candidate's position on same-sex marriage was somewhat or very important in determining how they would vote in November. Obama recently said he favors allowing gay couples to marry, while Romney reiterated his stance that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples.

Not surprisingly, four-fifths of voters who support gay marriage back Obama, while two-thirds of voters who want no legal recognition of same-sex couples support Romney. Obama holds a sizable lead among voters who want states to recognize civil unions, and Romney has a similar edge among those who support domestic-partner benefits, according to the poll.

McLennan said Obama is "pushing on two fronts" by waging a battle for same-sex marriage in a state that two weeks ago approved a constitutional amendment to define heterosexual marriage as the only legal union at the same time as he works to improve the economy.

"The president has to hope the economy keeps coming back, and he's also got to get the whole campaign off the issue of same-sex marriage," McLennan said. "He's got to push his own economic plan and really confront Mitt Romney on that."

155 Comments

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  • oleguy May 24, 12:05 p.m.

    We need Change,,,New change,,, Hows that last dudes change workling working out for you ,

  • elcid liked Ike May 23, 5:38 p.m.

    "That would be a major embarrassment considering they're holding the convention in this state, then again, things have been going south with politicians of that party here in NC which isn't helping either."

    The opinion stands. Frankly, I think that the campaign has decided to use the recent marriage vote, and the ensuing fracas from all of the videos of pastors predictably going off the deep-end about it, as a cautionary tale in order to swing more moderate states and keep Congressional Republicans & Romney both on the defensive about social issues, thereby diverting attention from the economy.

    In a sad way, NC Republicans shot their own party in the foot with this thing.

  • Nancy May 23, 5:20 p.m.

    "I honestly believe that Obama's campaign has effectively written off NC"

    That would be a major embarrassment considering they're holding the convention in this state, then again, things have been going south with politicians of that party here in NC which isn't helping either.

  • elcid liked Ike May 23, 4:56 p.m.

    "Good try WRAL their is NO way Obama is leading or will win NC or any state in the south." - MDL33

    The only Southern states he won the last time around were Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Relative to his performance in 2008, he can afford to lose all three and still have a 40 electoral vote safety margin towards winning the election.

    So let's assume that he loses all three of those Southern states. He still has to lose 41 more electoral votes (over and above what he would lose in FL, NC and VA) in order to lose the election.

    So, what OTHER states that he won in 2008 is he projected to lose that have more than 40 electoral votes?

  • elcid liked Ike May 23, 4:52 p.m.

    I honestly believe that Obama's campaign has effectively written off NC and really isn't that concerned with whether or not it carries the state in November.

    I say this because of the proportions of his 2008 win. While he took 52.9% of the popular vote, and that percentage will certainly decrease in 2012, elections in this country are not decided by the popular vote. He took 67.8% of the electoral vote in 2008.

    Let's put that in perspective: Obama can afford to lose 95 electoral votes relative to his 2008 performance and still win the election this November. If he loses NC, he still has to lose 81 more electoral votes elsewhere in order to lose the election.

    Folks with crystal balls (there seem to be a lot of you online today), riddle me this: which states other than NC did Obama win in 2008, but is currently projected by more than the margin of polling error to lose in 2012. Do those states have more than 81 electoral votes?

  • WooHoo2You May 23, 4:35 p.m.

    Just heard on the radio that the latest poll (not wral) put Romney up by 6 pts. I think thee is a bias in the wral poll. They are rally pro-obama.-early exit Roy

    What station? (I can hazard a guess but I just want Roy to say it)

  • WooHoo2You May 23, 4:34 p.m.

    TIRED of OBAMA AND HIS TAXES!!!!!!!

    Federal Income Tax State Income Tax FICA Tax Medicare Tax Gas Tax, Electric Utility Tax, Phone Tax, Property Tax, Motor Vehicle Tax, Sales Tax, Estate Tax, Cable TV Tax Hotel Hospitality Tax, Airline Tax, Liquor Tax, Tobacco Tax, Beer Tax, Soft Drink Tax, Dog Tax, Highway Toll Tax Can’t wait for the fat tax!- jdupree

    Which one of those taxes did Obama start again???????? You need some help if you think all or any of those taxes are Obama’s fault!

  • jdupree May 23, 4:00 p.m.

    TIRED of OBAMA AND HIS TAXES!!!!!!!

    Federal Income Tax

    State Income Tax

    FICA Tax

    Medicare Tax

    Gas Tax, Electric Utility Tax, Phone Tax, Property Tax,

    Motor Vehicle Tax, Sales Tax, Estate Tax, Cable TV Tax

    Hotel Hospitality Tax, Airline Tax, Liquor Tax, Tobacco Tax,

    Beer Tax, Soft Drink Tax, Dog Tax, Highway Toll Tax

    Can’t wait for the fat tax!

    Obama and Biden think we need more TAX. We don’t need these guys!

    TAX & SPEND DEMOCRATS! We pay and they play!

    FROM A MIDDLE CLASS WORKING CONSERVATIVE FED UP W/TAX

  • MDL33 May 23, 3:49 p.m.

    Yea right,,,,, would love to know the demographics of that poll.

    Would love to meet the upper income level that supports him so much. Good try WRAL their is NO way Obama is leading or will win NC or any state in the south.

  • early exit Roy May 23, 2:57 p.m.

    Just heard on the radio that the latest poll (not wral) put Romney up by 6 pts. I think thee is a bias in the wral poll. They are rally pro-obama.

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