Eight days ago, North Carolina voters added the previously existing statutory language defining marriage as between one man and one woman to their state constitution. The very next day, Barack Obama — who won North Carolina by 0.3% in 2008 — endorsed the legalization of same-sex marriage. A new Rasmussen poll shows the predictable consequences, which will likely end North Carolina’s status as a battleground state this cycle:
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.
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.
Yes, that decision is certainly turning out well for Democrats in and out of the state, isn’t it?
Let’s take a look at the numbers inside the poll. The D/R/I is pretty even at 36/35/30, probably a good electoral model; in 2008 it was 42/31/27, but obviously the turnout model is going to look different this time around. Independents break narrowly for Romney, 49/45, but Romney also gets 18% of Democrats while losing only 6% of Republicans. That 18% of Democrats looks awfully close to the 20.3% that voted “no preference” in last week’s primary rather than cast a vote for Obama, too, for a little independent corroboration of that number.
Romney leads among men 50/44, but does even better among women, 53/41. That will send a shiver up spines at Team Obama. Rasmussen uses three age demos, and Obama wins the youngest, but only 50/39, another red flag. Romney wins wide majorities in the other two, including a whopping 68/30 split among seniors.
Rasmussen didn’t have a favorability question for Obama, but they did test for job approval. Obama’s underwater at 46/54, slightly better at 49/51 among independents. Romney’s favorability looks much better at 54/43. In both cases, there is very little room for change, with almost no one undecided on these questions. On the economy, 89% rate it fair or poor, with only 10% rating it good; 31% think it’s improving, but 41% think it’s getting worse, while 24% think it’s staying the same. These are bad numbers for an incumbent President, especially one who just alienated more than 60% of voters the day after they went to the polls.
One more interesting note from the poll: voter-ID laws are remarkably popular, at 80/15. Two-thirds of black voters support ID checks at the ballot box in North Carolina, a very surprising result given the usual claims that such laws are discriminatory. Only 26% of likely voters believe that to be true, according to this poll, although black voters split almost equally on that question, 46/44.