President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continue to run neck and neck in North Carolina, according to new results from Public Policy Polling (PPP).
The survey numbers released Tuesday find Obama leading Romney 47-46 percent, a slight change from last month when Romney led Obama by two percentage points. Both candidates enjoy strong support among members of their respective parties, with Romney holding a 55-39 percent edge among independent voters.
“We have now polled North Carolina 22 times since late November of 2010. Twenty-one out of those 22 times Obama and Romney have been within 3 points of each other,” Tom Jensen of PPP wrote in his analysis of the poll. “The state’s about as much of a toss up as it could possibly be.”
Obama leads Romney among female voters, 51-43 percent, while Romney leads Obama among male voters, 51-42 percent. Romney is favored by voters 46 years old and above, while Obama is preferred by voters 18-45 years old, with his strongest support coming from voters below the age of 30.
The Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s experience as a venture capitalist appear to be swaying some North Carolina voters, with 40 percent saying his tenure at Bain Capital makes them view Romney less favorably, compared to just 20 percent who see that experience in a positive light.
The same poll finds North Carolina voters evenly divided over the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, with 44 percent in agreement with the decision and 44 percent opposed.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion in that ruling, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters, while 32 percent view him unfavorably and 33 percent have no opinion. Although Roberts was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, North Carolina Democrats are currently more likely to view him favorably than Republicans in the state.
While the presidential contest is extremely tight in the Tar Heel State, Obama enjoys a much stronger lead in Virginia at 50-42 percent, according to another PPP poll released Tuesday. In 2008 Obama was the first Democrat to win North Carolina since 1976 and the first to win Virginia since 1964. An Obama victory in both of those states again in 2012 could make Romney’s path to the White House extremely narrow.
The PPP polls find that when it comes to Romney’s selection of a running mate, neither U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina nor Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell would make a significant difference for the outcome in their home state if added to the Republican ticket.