Though Obama's approval in the Tar Heel state declined to below 50%, the president has basically held steady at the 49% share of the vote he garnered in November's presidential election against John McCain. With Palin substituted as the GOP standard bearer for 2012, the Republican share of North Carolina drops from 49% (McCain's nearly identical portion of the vote in 2008) to 42%. As Tom Jensen at PPP points out, that would amount to the largest margin for Democrat since the last time a Democratic presidential nominee won the state (Jimmy Carter's 1976 win over Gerald Ford).
There are a couple of interesting points hidden in the cross-tabs:
First, Obama did better among North Carolina women (53-38) while Palin bested the president among men in the state (47-45). Despite a woman representing the GOP at the top of the ticket the gender gap still favrs the Democratic candidate. And in comparison with the 2008 exit polls, the Republican margin among males drops from 12 points to the 2 points in this poll. Meanwhile Obama maintains about the same level of support among women in the state.
Based on party identification, Democrats still overwhelmingly support Obama (79-13), while Republicans strongly favor Palin (83-9). Among independents the split is only advantageous to Obama to the tune of 45-42.
As I said earlier in the week, it is nice to have one of these polls emerge from a 2008 swing state. Texas and Minnesota are nice, but may not end up being very swingy in 2012. And even though other prospective candidates being included would have been ideal, it is at least something of a baseline to see where one of the most high-profile Republicans stands relative to the president. Now if only PPP had decided to poll Iowa instead of Louisiana next week, I'd be a happy camper.
The Paths of Presidential Primary Frontloading
State of the Race: New Jersey (7/14/09)
A 2012 Obama v. Palin Poll in North Carolina?