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. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
A few important takeaways:
(1) As the pollsters note, according to the first Rasmussen Reports survey conducted in North Carolina last month, Romney held a negligible two point lead over President Obama. Since that time, however, The One's support has waned. After all, he just became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage; two days after North Carolinian voters effectively banned the practice. His decision to come around on this issue – at least at this point – is undoubtedly alienating some of his supporters.
(2) Remember, too, Barack Obama won North Carolina by a little more than 14,000 votes out of more than 400,000 ballots cast in 2008. (He was also, incidentally, the first Democratic presidential candidate to win there since Jimmy Carter in 1976.) Nevertheless, according to a recent national poll, 1 in 4 voters are less likely to support President Obama after his so-called “evolution” on same-sex marriage. I suspect the numbers are even higher in Tar Heel territory.
(3) It's also strange that the president is trailing Mitt Romney by 8 percentage points in the very state where his party is hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention. In fairness, these numbers will fluctuate a great deal between now and November. But he’s already visited North Carolina eleven times as president. More to the point, though, his reelection campaign recently bought up millions of dollars in airtime around the state to disseminate his message. So why, then, is an incumbent president – with a huge war chest – suddenly trailing the presumptive Republican nominee by a large margin?
Well, perhaps the reason is obvious. But could this have anything to do with it?
Update: A new poll released Wednesday by the Democratic pollster PPP shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney 48% to 47%. Their sample had a D/R/I split of 48/34/18.