Barack Obama turned heads in 2008 when he won North Carolina, traditionally a solidly Republican state. But a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll shows Mitt Romney taking the lead in the Tar Heel State 48 to 46 percent:
Romney’s gained 7 points on Obama in North Carolina since April, when the President led by a 49-44 margin. Since then Romney’s erased what was a 51-38 lead for Obama with independents and taken a 42-41 lead with that voting group. He’s also increased his share of the Democratic vote from 15% to 20%, suggesting he’s convincing some more conservative voters within the party to cross over.
Color me skeptical. These numbers come at something of a low point for the president, as he’s been struggling to explain a weak jobs report to a frustrated electorate. There’s plenty of time for the Dems to make a comeback, and they’ll get a ton of local media when they have their convention in Charlotte this September.
What’s more, as PPP’s always-sharp Tom Jensen notes, this survey shows Obama winning just 76 percent of the black vote. That’s compared to 95 percent in 2008. While some slippage is certainly plausible, it’s tough to imagine Mitt Romney – who has no African Americans anywhere in his orbit or his campaign ads – is going to be the Republican who makes a breakthrough with the black vote.