President Barack Obama is in a competitive position to carry North Carolina again in two years, according to a new poll.
The survey finds Obama leading or close to all potential Republican opponents in the state, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh-based firm with Democratic leanings.
Obama would defeat former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by a 48-43 percent margin, would beat former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by a 46-45 percent margin, and is tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 44 percent. He would lose to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by a 44-48 percent margin.
Obama surprised many in 2008 by becoming the first Democrat to carry North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976, edging out Arizona Sen. John McCain.
PPP recently took a similar poll in Virginia, which also went for Obama in 2008, finding that Obama was leading all Republicans there by five points. The firm found that Obama had lost more independent voters in North Carolina than he had in Virginia during the past two years.
The spin: “It has to be encouraging for President Obama that so soon after some wrote his political obituary, he is already looking just as strong in North Carolina and Virginia as he did in 2008,” said Dean Debnam, the president of the polling firm. “The remarkable thing is he is doing this well while still losing independents, unlike in 2008.”
Obama has an approval rating of 45 percent, while 51 percent disapprove of the job he is doing.
As for Palin, 36 percent view her favorably, while 55 percent view her unfavorably. Gingrich's ratings are 33 percent favorable, 43 percent unfavorable. Huckabee is is viewed favorably by 44 percent and unfavorably by 31 percent. Romney is viewed favorably by 33 percent, and unfavorably by 38 percent.
The survey of 517 North Carolina voters was conducted Nov. 19 to 21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.