Local Politics

Poll: More N.C. residents blame GOP for economic woes

Dissatisfaction with Republicans over the economy has allowed Democrats to pull even in the state in the upcoming presidential election, an Elon University poll found.

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John McCain, Barack Obama
ELON, N.C. — Nearly half of North Carolina residents blame the Republican Party for the nation's economic crisis, according to a poll released Friday.

Elon University surveyed 477 people statewide this week and found that 47.7 percent felt the Republicans are more responsible for current economic problems, compared with 24.4 percent who blamed the Democrats. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

By a 43-to-33 percent margin, respondents said Democrats have done a better job of managing the economy than Republicans. The margin between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama GOP candidate John McCain was much closer, with 44.2 percent saying Obama would handle the economy better and 41.8 percent favoring McCain's economic plan.

The economic crisis has heightened the battleground status of North Carolina, according to the poll.

About 39 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote Democrat in the upcoming presidential election, up from 35 percent in an Elon University poll conducted two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Republicans also garnered 39 percent support for president in the latest poll, down slightly from about 42 percent two weeks ago.

Seventeen percent of respondents remain undecided in the presidential election.

The poll was taken after the first presidential debate last week, and 45 percent of those surveyed called Obama the winner in the debate, compared with 35 percent who said McCain won. Yet, more people felt McCain showed a better grasp of the issues in the debate than Obama, 31 percent to 30 percent.

"North Carolina, following the national trend, is leaning Democrat for president. Should this pattern prevail, the result would be a startling change in state presidential politics for more than one reason,” Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University poll, said in a statement. “Not only have the Democrats failed to win North Carolina in over 30 years, such a victory would mark a major milestone for the black community here and throughout the South.”

The races for U.S. Senate and North Carolina governor remain tight, according to the poll.

Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said they would vote Democrat in the Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Democratic challenger Kay Hagan, compared with 34 percent who plan to vote Republican. Almost a quarter of voters remain undecided.

In the gubernatorial race pitting Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, about 37 percent plan to vote Republican and almost 33 percent plan to vote Democrat. As in the Senate race, almost one in four respondents said they were undecided.


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