North Carolina residents continue to disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy (54%). Given that the economy is by far the most important issue facing the state, the Elon University Poll shows that 49% of North Carolinians disapprove of Obama’s job performance.
The poll was in the field when the president was speaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which means that his face was on the front pages of many of the state’s newspapers and leading the news broadcasts. Yet, that exposure, though, didn’t seem to help his approval rating. The number of North Carolina residents who disapproved of his job performance last November was 47%. In February, it was 48%. Given the polling margin of error, his numbers are statistically flat.
Nationally, Fox News polling shows that 51% disapprove of Obama’s job performance; Gallup, 44%; Rasmussen, 53%; and NBC/Wall Street Journal, 46%. Make of that swing what you will. Me, I’d say that the daily horse race polls will go back and forth more than a swing at a crowded playground for several more months.
But in North Carolina, it means that the president shows signs of vulnerability. It’s not happenstance that he gave a major speech on student loans at UNC. He needs to win the youth vote, which he captured in 2008 and which is his to lose in 2012.
Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate among the highest in the nation. Obama will have a hard time getting traction that he’s helped North Carolinians’ pocketbooks, which Mitt Romney clearly knows. The former governor was in Charlotte last week and his message was clear: Obama has failed the state when it comes to the economy. According to ABC News, Romney referred to the Democratic National Convention coming up in September.
“Now, what you won’t hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we’ve had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed,” said Romney. “You won’t hear that since he gave that speech and became president that there have been 50,000 more job losses here in North Carolina, more than twice as many as would fit in that stadium.”
“You will not hear that 400,000 North Carolinians are out of work. You will not hear that 93 percent of the people who lost their jobs during the Obama years have been women,” he continued. “Those are things you will not hear, but as I’m the nominee for our party, I hope, I’m going make sure the people of America hear those things loud and clear.”
For Obama, it is about energizing the base. For Romney, “it’s the economy, stupid.”
— John Robinson