At one time, North Carolina was thought to be so competitive, that the Democrats scheduled their national convention in Charlotte thinking it would help Obama win the state as he did in 2008.
North Carolina is still competitive, although it appears that due to circumstances not related to the Obama administration, the state is probably Romney's to lose.
Mitt Romney has moved out to an eight-point lead over President Obama in North Carolina after the two men were virtually tied a month ago.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Tar Heel State shows the putative Republican nominee earning 51% of the vote to Obama's 43%. Two percent (2%) like some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
That's a big change from last month when Romney posted a narrow 46% to 44% lead over the president in Rasmussen Reports' first survey of the race in North Carolina. Democrats have signaled North Carolina's importance as a key swing state by deciding to hold their national convention in Charlotte this summer.
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 as far and away the most important issue in the upcoming election, and just 11% of North Carolina voters now describe the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Forty-seven percent (47%) rate it as poor. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the economy is getting better, but 41% 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 poor.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of North Carolina Republicans now support Romney, compared to 76% of Democrats in the state who back Obama. Nearly one-in-five North Carolina Democrats (18%) now favor the Republican. The GOP challenger holds a modest 49% to 45% lead among voters not affiliated with either party, but the two men were tied with 38% support each among this group a month ago.
A gay sexual harrassment scandal has roiled the state party, splitting the Democrats in two. The state also just approved an anti-gay marriage amendment that has solidified Romney's support and discomfited the dems. Unions are mad because the convention is being held in a right to work state and fundraising for the convention is lagging.
In other words, the Democrats are in disarray, disorganized, and not very confident going into the fall campaign. All of this has worked to give Mitt Romney a leg up in a traditionally conservative state.
Obama can afford to lose North Carolina, although if he fails to carry the state, it will narrow his path to 270 electoral votes. The Tar Heel state is the 10th largest electoral vote haul and a Mitt Romney victory there would be of enormous help on election day.