WRAL News poll: Romney edges ahead in NC as election nears

Posted October 30, 2012

— Mitt Romney has moved ahead of President Barack Obama in North Carolina in the final week before the election, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.

SurveyUSA polled 682 likely voters statewide between Saturday and Monday and found that 50 percent would vote for Romney and 45 percent for Obama if the election were held now. The remaining 5 percent were either undecided or voting for another candidate.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

In a WRAL News poll conducted four weeks ago, Obama and Romney were in a virtual dead heat for North Carolina's 15 electoral votes, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 47 percent.

The results of the latest poll contrast sharply with other recent surveys that show North Carolina as a toss-up in next week's election. An Elon University Poll of likely voters that was released Monday, for example, showed both men at 45 percent, with 5 percent still undecided.

"We've seen so much volatility in this race, so you can move from a deadlocked race to a 5 percentage point race over a matter of days," said David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh.

The shift in the WRAL News polls appears to come primarily from Romney eliminating Obama's lead among female voters. In early October, the president held a 53 to 44 percent lead among women, but both men now are at 47 percent in that demographic.

Meanwhile, Romney has widened his lead among male voters. He now holds a 52 to 43 percent margin there, up from 51 to 44 percent in early October.

The former Massachusetts governor also has opened up sizable leads among independents and wealthier voters in recent weeks.

What had been a virtual tie among independents – 45 to 43 percent in favor of Romney – has turned into a 12-point advantage for him. Romney and Obama also were tied in early October among voters with annual incomes of more than $80,000, but Romney now leads among that group by 59 to 37 percent.

WRAL News Poll image Prof: Volatile presidential race leads to shifting polls

Romney continues to hold a 50 to 45 percent margin among the coveted middle-class voters, while Obama has widened his lead among lower-income voters from 13 to 15 points.

Younger voters, a key segment of his victory in 2008, still favor Obama by 53 to 38 percent, but Romney has narrowed that gap slightly in recent weeks. Similarly, Obama has cut into Romney's lead among voters age 50 or older, although Romney still holds a 53 to 43 percent margin there.

The poll shows that Obama has banked much of his support in North Carolina through early voting.

One-third of respondents have already cast votes in person, and the president leads among them by a 56 to 43 percent margin. He also leads among the small number of absentee voters by 53 to 40 percent, while the candidates are even among the respondents who plan to vote early this week.

Those early votes for Obama aren't likely to stand up, according to the poll. Another third of those surveyed plan to wait until Election Day to vote, and Romney leads that group by a 60 to 33 percent margin.

Economy on voters' minds

Some of Obama's weakness in North Carolina might be traced to the fact that many voters don't feel the last four years under his leadership have been a success.

Forty-four percent of those polled said their families were worse off financially than in 2008, which was twice as many who said they are better off now. Thirty-four percent said their financial conditions remain unchanged from four years ago.

Still, a majority of voters expressed optimism when discussing North Carolina's economy. Fifty-two percent say it will get stronger in the coming year, compared with 7 percent who foresee more troubles and 25 percent who expect it to continue sputtering along as it has been.

Republicans get the nod by 49 percent of respondents when it comes to handling the U.S. economy. Forty-one percent said Democrats can be trusted more with economic matters.

Other than the economy, health care is the most important issue among voters. Forty percent of respondents named it as the second-most-pressing issue in the U.S., followed by education at 21 percent, the war on terror at 15 percent and immigration at 10 percent.

McLennan said health care was cited so much because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama helped pass two years ago. Romney has vowed to repeal the health care reform law.

"It's a lightning rod issue – half of the country is for it and half of the country is against it," McLennan said.


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  • justinrusso394 Nov 2, 2012

    Who Is Gary Johnson? And Why Is the GOP So Mad at Him?

    Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/01/who-is-gary-johnson-and-why-is-the-gop-so-mad-at-him/

  • lb27608 Nov 1, 2012

    "Sigh poor unexperienced young people. Do not worry with age comes some wisdom."

    Some of the most enthusiastic Obama supporters I know are well-educated older professionals. So I guess you're right - wisdom means not voting for a Republican.

  • goozleboy Nov 1, 2012

    "BTW, purposely misspelling the President of the Unites States name is really a slur to the office and to the Country."

    So is mismanaging the country, but the clowns still manage to get away with it...with pay.

  • sweetums googoo Nov 1, 2012

    I personally know Phd's who cant open a bag of chips... Education is really no measure of intelligence.

    "The only votes Obomba will get are the people on welfare and dont want to work and want more handouts."
    Is this a rehash of Romney"s %47?

    BTW, purposely misspelling the President of the Unites States name is really a slur to the office and to the Country.

    I agree that paying for education w/o children might seem to be an undue burden...but what happens when all those children go un-educated? If I have never driven on a particular street in say-Oxford, should my taxes pay for it? Taxes are not limited to your particular usage.

  • GK N.Ral Nov 1, 2012

    Not voting for President. Do not want either one for president. All other races, I will vote for the one NOT in office. we have seen what the ones in office can do, NOTHING. Let's try some new people.

  • sweetums googoo Nov 1, 2012

    I drop the GOP likely voters into 3 camps... (none of which are bad IMO... :)

    1. Incomes of 250K+ are obvious choices for the GOP. "Rich keep getting richer..."
    2. Some hardline social stance on an issue (of which, the GOP has since backed off from after the early rallying of the GOP base and current pandering to moderate independents) "Say what they want to hear..."
    3. Middle income, socially moderate (or reasonably so...) and otherwise normal folks who think the GOP has something good for them in their plans. "Well,... this is actually baffling to me..."

    As an independent, I have seen nothing from the GOP to persuade me for voting for them. I hear all sorts of "sound bites" that really say nothing. I hear great sounding plans that have no basis in real substance.
    I may not agree with every single political stance from every Democrat running for office, but I see an economy slowly rebounding and "all four wheels out of the ditch and back on the road".

    Blue has my vote...

  • superman Nov 1, 2012

    I really dont care what Romney's agenda might be. I only know that Obomba hasnt done anything but get this country on the verge of bankrupcy. After 4 years he now has a plan! Wish he had had a plan for the last 4 years. The only votes Obomba will get are the people on welfare and dont want to work and want more handouts. After 4 years of nothing we need a change. I have always voted mostly for democrats but no more. Education funding should be like toll roads the people who fill up the schools should be the ones who pay for it. Over 60% of the tax collected goes to support education and we dont have children. Just how fair a tax is that? By the way I have a masters degree also a CPA so I am not exactly uneducated.

  • Lightfoot3 Nov 1, 2012

    "We should go to a flat income tax to make things truly fair" - ConservativeVoter

    Uh, no. 10% of a poor, or middle class earning is a much bigger BURDEN than 10% of a rich person's earnings.

    "You do understand that taxes are suppose to be horizontally and vertically fair, right?" - beachmama

    Apparently not. And from how many I've seen propose taxing the poor at the same rate as your tax the rich, it's a systemic misunderstanding.

    "You are being too logical for those on the left to understand." - ncouterbanks69

    See what I mean?

  • Mon Account Nov 1, 2012

    A poll of over 411 comments on WRAL's news story shows that 97% of NC people are still blind to Romney's agenda. The same people are shown to be bitter and uneducated, based on the number of syllables in their words, and exclaimation points and question marks per sentence.

  • bombayrunner Oct 31, 2012

    Obama invests in companies that send jobs overseas AND hides much of his income in the cayman islands (offshore accounts). Why, so they are not taxed.