Romney trails Obama in favorability in N.C.

While most North Carolinians have opinions about President Barack Obama, more than a quarter of state residents don’t know how they feel about his presumptive GOP rival in the fall elections, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Forty-three percent of respondents expressed unfavorable views of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they held favorable views. Another 28 percent said they don’t know how they feel.

That compares to the 49 percent of respondents who think favorably of Obama and the 42 percent who don’t. Just 8 percent of respondents said they “don’t know” how they feel about the president.

The poll, conducted April 22-25, 2012, surveyed 640 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.87 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.

“People know President Obama. He’s been in office for nearly four years and has visited North Carolina more than a dozen times,” said John Robinson, director of communications for the Elon University Poll. “Now that he’s the presumptive GOP nominee, Gov. Romney’s challenge is to educate North Carolinians on what he stands for and why they should vote for him. To carry the state, he will need to win over most of those ‘don’t knows.’”

Campaign Finance Laws

The latest poll also found North Carolinians believe government should be able to restrict how much money can be contributed to political candidates.

Sixty-three percent of respondents replied that “Super PACs,” organizations that can raise and spend unlimited money on candidates, should be illegal. Barely a quarter of respondents – 24 percent – said they should remain legal.

North Carolinians felt government should restrict gifts to political candidates in other forms as well.

Gifts by Individuals

  • Should be restricted: 54 percent
  • Should not be restricted: 41 percent

Gifts by Corporations

  • Should be restricted: 73 percent
  • Should not be restricted: 23 percent

Gifts by Unions

  • Should be restricted: 69 percent
  • Should not be restricted: 26 percent

The “Buffett Rule”

As policy makers in Washington consider various budgetary solutions, more than six out of 10 North Carolina residents would support a measure requiring households making more than $1 million a year to pay a minimum of 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Thirty-three percent of respondents oppose the idea.

The Buffett Rule is named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who previously suggested that rich Americans should pay as much in federal income tax as middle class Americans, as a percentage of their total income.