Obama job approval inches up in N.C.

On the eve of a scheduled presidential visit to Charlotte, N.C., Barack Obama’s job marks have improved slightly since last fall with 45 percent of North Carolina residents in the latest Elon University Poll expressing approval for the way he has handled his role as president.

Obama’s job approval stood at 42 percent in September. Likewise, 48 percent of respondents in the latest poll disapprove of his job performance, a decline from 51 percent recorded six months ago.

The poll – conducted Feb. 26-March 1, 2012, in partnership with the News & Observer, Charlotte Observer, WTVD Television, WCNC Television and News14 Carolina – surveyed 605 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

“Our latest results show a slight bump in President Obama’s standing with North Carolinians,” said Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll. “However, with North Carolina continuing to have higher than average state unemployment, his electoral future in the Tar Heel state is anything but certain.”

Women (51 percent) expressed stronger approval of Obama’s job performance than men (38 percent). Likewise, men (57 percent) disapprove of his job performance compared to women (40 percent).

Party affiliation also played into perceptions. Eighty-seven percent of self-identified Democrats approve of his job performance, while 87 percent of self-identified Republicans disapprove. Independents lean toward more unfavorable marks; 51 percent disapprove of his job performance while 39 percent approve.

Movement was also seen in the way North Carolinians grade Obama’s economic abilities. Forty-three percent of respondents in the latest poll approve of his handling of the economy, up from 37 percent in September. Disapproval marks were above 50 percent in both polls.

When respondents were most recently asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Obama, 47 percent said it was favorable, the same number as the September poll. Unfavorable views declined slightly since September, from 45 percent to 44 percent of respondents.