Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney leads Democratic President Barack Obama 48-46 percent in North Carolina, according to new survey results released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling (PPP).
The poll shows Romney with his first lead in the Tar Heel State since October, overcoming a 5-point deficit against Obama seen in an April survey. According to PPP’s analysis of the poll, Romney’s newfound advantage comes from growing support among independent voters and conservative Democrats. Romney’s favorability rating is also on the rise, increasing 12 percent since April, although he still trails Obama in that category, 47-41 percent.
Obama’s strongest support is found in Eastern and Western North Carolina, while Romney’s strongest support comes from the Triad and Charlotte regions. The Triangle appears split between the two candidates.
Obama still has a solid lead among voters ages 18-29, at 54-38 percent. However, Romney leads in all other age groups, including a 12-percent advantage among voters over age 65.
As Romney contemplates a running mate, the poll finds that the selection of North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr as his vice presidential nominee would have little influence on the state’s voters.
“Burr’s lack of effect is probably attributable to his relative anonymity in the state,” Tom Jensen of PPP said. “Eight years after his initial election to the Senate, 32 percent of voters still have no opinion about him, one of the highest ‘not sure’ rates we find for any senator in the country.”
According to Jensen, the results of this latest poll show that North Carolina continues to be one of the closest toss up states in the country.
“It could go either way, and the way the campaigns are spending here backs up that assessment,” Jensen said.