North Carolina Open to Democrats in 2008


Democratic candidates for Senate and President are poised to give Republicans in North Carolina a major challenge in 2008. In a state that voted Republican for president for the last 30 years, Barack Obama is within striking distance of John McCain, and Kay Hagan leads incumbent Elizabeth Dole by 5 points. A recent survey conducted by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner demonstrates that in 2008, North Carolina voters are ready for change:

  • Barack Obama trails John McCain by just three points (44 to 47 percent), and Obama’s deficit shrinks to just 46 to 47 percent after respondents hear a balanced amount of positive and negative information on both candidates. The candidates have a similar standing among North Carolina voters, with McCain garnering slightly fewer negative marks: Obama receives a 46 to 40 percent favorable to unfavorable rating; those figures are at 45 to 34 percent with McCain.
  • Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole is trailing her Democratic challenger, Kay Hagan, 50 to 45 percent. Less than half of voters (46 percent) are familiar with Hagan, while Dole receives troubling marks from voters—just 38 percent approve of the job she is doing as Senator, and voters are divided on her personal favorability ratings (37 percent favorable, 34 percent unfavorable).

In this survey of 800 likely 2008 voters, conducted before Obama’s convention speech (August 20-26th), most voters reject the notion that the Democrat is not ready to lead, and say they believe Obama will do a better job on critical economic issues:

  • Over half (55 percent) of North Carolina voters believe the statement “has good judgment” describes Barack Obama and a majority of voters (54 percent) reject the notion that “not ready to lead” describes Obama.
  • By a 52 to 38 percent margin, voters believe that Obama will do a better job than McCain on the economy and jobs.
  • Amid attention on Obama’s position on domestic drilling for oil, North Carolina voters think that Obama will do a better job on energy policy by a wide 12 point margin (48 to 36 percent) as well as on gas prices (43 to 35 percent.
  • Obama holds a small advantage over McCain on taxes, 46 to 41 percent, a remarkable finding for a Democrat in North Carolina.

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