Wednesday, July 15, 2009

North Carolina in 2012: Obama - 49, Palin - 42

Public Policy Polling today released the second half of its survey of North Carolinians (full results here -- pdf). It isn't that yesterday's approval numbers for Governor Bev Perdue, President Obama and former-President Bush weren't interesting to look at, but FHQ would be lying if it said it wasn't more interested in the prospective 2012 general election match up between the president and Sarah Palin.

Though Obama's approval in the Tar Heel state declined to below 50%, the president has basically held steady at the 49% share of the vote he garnered in November's presidential election against John McCain. With Palin substituted as the GOP standard bearer for 2012, the Republican share of North Carolina drops from 49% (McCain's nearly identical portion of the vote in 2008) to 42%. As Tom Jensen at PPP points out, that would amount to the largest margin for Democrat since the last time a Democratic presidential nominee won the state (Jimmy Carter's 1976 win over Gerald Ford).

There are a couple of interesting points hidden in the cross-tabs:
First, Obama did better among North Carolina women (53-38) while Palin bested the president among men in the state (47-45). Despite a woman representing the GOP at the top of the ticket the gender gap still favrs the Democratic candidate. And in comparison with the 2008 exit polls, the Republican margin among males drops from 12 points to the 2 points in this poll. Meanwhile Obama maintains about the same level of support among women in the state.

Based on party identification, Democrats still overwhelmingly support Obama (79-13), while Republicans strongly favor Palin (83-9). Among independents the split is only advantageous to Obama to the tune of 45-42. These numbers seem to indicate there were more Democrats in the sample than Republicans. [They also seem to indicate that the powers of deduction are strong with FHQ. As AKReport and Jack both point out in the comments below, the party ID splits -- 47% Dem, 33% GOP, 20% Ind. -- are on par with registration in the Old North state.]

As I said earlier in the week, it is nice to have one of these polls emerge from a 2008 swing state. Texas and Minnesota are nice, but may not end up being very swingy in 2012. And even though other prospective candidates being included would have been ideal, it is at least something of a baseline to see where one of the most high-profile Republicans stands relative to the president. Now if only PPP had decided to poll Iowa instead of Louisiana next week, I'd be a happy camper.

Recent Posts:
The Paths of Presidential Primary Frontloading

State of the Race: New Jersey (7/14/09)

A 2012 Obama v. Palin Poll in North Carolina?


Simple thoughts said...

In the Poll
Democrat 47%
Republican 33%
Independent 20%

Josh Putnam said...

And right there on the second page. I jumped deep into those cross-tabs looking for the independent breakdown. Good eye.

Jack said...

Hi from New York's Third Congressional District!

North Carolina Board Of Elections: 2,770,381 Democrats (45.6%), 1,936,175 Republicans (31.9%), 5,295 Libertarians (0.1%), 1,365,465 unaffiliated (22.5%). So the partisan IDs in the poll look okay to me.

I wonder if the Palin deficit with women as compared to men is greater or less than it would be for most male Republican candidates. And, while I don't think any female Republican candidate would do better with women than men, I wonder how much narrower the gap would be with another woman.

Robert said...

What happens if Sarah ignores Huckabee and runs as an Independent?

Jack said...

It won't happen. But if it did, 1912 redux, except it will be an even bigger electoral landslide.

I mean, Wilson won Maine in 1912. Maine had not voted Democratic since Franklin Pierce of neighboring New Hampshire won it in 1852 — and Pierce won everything that year except VT, MA, KY and TN. It would not do so again until the landslide of 1964. A Palin third-party candidacy might turn some rather odd states blue. Maybe Kansas. Or Alaska.

Josh Putnam said...

I was going to suggest we look at the PPP poll from Minnesota last week. It won't answer your "another Republican woman" question, but it will give us the comparison between a male and female candidate against Obama.

The results are actually surprising. Obama led Pawlenty by 21 points among women and the two were tied among men. Huh? There were more Democrats than Republicans in that sample, but there were also more independents than Democrats or Republicans as well.

Now Palin. Obama just slightly edged the Alaska governor. The president was nearly 30 points up with women and 12 points ahead among men. Yeah, Minnesota appears to be a bluish state.

So, this just opened up another can of worms instead of helping us to better understand the gender gap differences (relative to Palin). For one thing we're dealing with a less competitive state and another control group candidate whose home is in said state. There are some problems, then, but what we see is that the gender gap is less for Pawlenty than it is for Palin.

We'll have to keep an eye out for this in the polls to come.

Josh Putnam said...

Here's that link from Rob.

All I can say is that if Palin went the third party route, there would be some very torn Republicans out there. I would also say that I don't think she'll do that, but if we know one thing about Ms. Palin, it is that she will continue to keep us all on our toes. Any and everything is seemingly possible.

Robert said...

If Sarah bolts, there may the temptation for an anti-war Democrat to jump in the race as a fourth-party candidate, particularly if the wars drag on and the economy doesn't improve. Russ Feingold comes to mind.

BTW, in 1912 it was the only candidate who had NOT been President who won that election. Also the Democrat won after the Republicans had control of the Presidency for 44 of the previous 52 years.

Jack said...

Feingold can be unpredictable. But he wouldn't do that. And I'd say that Obama, under most circumstances, would win an Obama-Feingold-Romney-Palin race.