Local Politics

Poll: Presidential candidates fail to inspire NC residents

Posted March 30, 2012 2:32 p.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2012 3:43 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina residents express lukewarm confidence in the field of presidential candidates, according to a poll released Friday.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 534 North Carolina residents Monday through Thursday and found that President Barack Obama receives higher marks for handling both domestic and foreign policy issues than his Republican rivals.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.24 percentage points.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents expressed confidence in Obama's ability to handle domestic issues, while former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum topped the four Republican candidates at 29 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney scored 28 percent, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 24 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 20 percent.

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama inspired confidence in 42 percent of those surveyed, compared with 28 percent for Gingrich, 24 percent for Romney, 22 percent for Santorum and 16 percent for Paul.

Poll spokesman John Robinson said Obama's strong showing might be due to his frequent visits to North Carolina.

"We like to see candidates on our home turf," Robinson said in a statement. "President Obama has visited here often, and the Republicans have been busy campaigning elsewhere.”

The poll also found that the economy continues to be the most important issue facing North Carolina. Fifty-seven percent of respondents cited it as such, followed by education at 10 percent and energy and gas prices at 6 percent.