Democratic polling outfit Public Policy Polling would like you to believe that the race in North Carolina is on the razor’s edge.
PPP’s newest poll finds Barack Obama and Mitt Romney dead even at 48%. In 3 September PPP polls of the state we found a tie twice and a one point Obama lead the third time. Taking a bigger picture look, in 26 Obama/Romney polls dating back to November of 2010 we have only found the candidates separated by more than 3 points one time. It would be hard for the race in North Carolina to be much tighter.
How does PPP arrive at this 48-48 tie? Looking at page three, we find the answer: Democrats make up 48% of the respondents, while Republicans only make up 34%.
Is it possible that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 14%, and will vote that way on November 6, in North Carolina?
Sure, it’s possible. It’s also possible that space monkeys will descend from their base on one of Jupiter’s moons to declare a cheese war on the US Virgin Islands tomorrow.
Just about anything is possible. In the world of the probable, though, it’s not likely that an unpopular president will overwhelm his opposition by 14 points in North Carolina. Not with a local Democratic governor so badly damaged that she didn’t even seek re-election. Not in a state that where Obama only got an 11 point gap in 2008 when he was still the lightbringer who would work his hope and change miracle magic on America. Not when Republicans poll as far more motivated to vote this year, and when Romney consistently leads among independent voters.
The hard fact for Obama is that he enjoyed a huge 11-point gap over McCain in North Carolina in 2008. He still only won the state by a few thousand votes. He has to perform just as well as he did in 2008, and there is no reason to think that he will do that. North Carolina tends to vote Republican at the top of the ticket. Pollsters this year seem to be using a flawed model that preserves 2008’s exceptional Obama performance.
I’m not saying that North Carolina will be a GOP blowout. But I do think Romney will win it. I don’t think PPP’s polls tend to be very useful.