Fresh from his appearance at Wednesday’s John Locke Foundation election preview panel, Byron York of the Washington Examiner devotes his latest column to an assessment of President Obama’s prospects this year in the Tar Heel State.
Obama’s narrow, 14,000-vote victory here in 2008 — the first by a Democrat since Jimmy Carter a generation ago — showed just how far his campaign could reach into states that Republicans had once thought safe. By choosing Charlotte in ’12, Obama signaled he was ready to do it again.
“We’re going to play big,” top Obama adviser David Axelrod said when the choice was announced. “We’re certainly not going to hunker down.”
But it’s not working out. Of all the swing states playing key roles in the 2012 presidential race, North Carolina is the only one in which Obama is trailing Republican Mitt Romney. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Romney leads Obama by 4.8 percentage points in North Carolina — and the convention had little or no effect on that margin.
“We saw less of a convention bounce for [Obama] here than we did in other places,” says Tom Jensen, director of the Raleigh-based, Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. “I don’t think having the convention in Charlotte is going to end up making it any more likely that President Obama wins the state this year.”
Jensen, who sees the race as very close, says there’s been little post-convention change, mostly because voters in North Carolina had already made their minds up before the Democrats arrived. But convention aside, Obama is not treating North Carolina like a state he believes he can win.