With nearly half of North Carolinians blaming the Republican Party for the nation's economic conditions, the levels of support for the Republican and Democratic parties in the presidential election have drawn even in the state, according to the latest Elon University Poll.
According to the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, whose latest poll results were released Friday, 48 percent of North Carolinians think Republicans are more responsible for the state of the economy, while 24 percent believe Democrats are. (Thirteen percent said neither party was more responsible than the other.)
The poll, conducted Monday through Thursday, also showed 44 percent of North Carolinians think Democrat Barack Obama would do a better job of managing the economy as president, while 42 percent believe Republican John McCain would.
In a poll taken two weeks earlier, however, support for McCain and the Republican Party outweighed support for the Democrats by 7 percentage points.
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“North Carolina, following the national trend, is leaning Democrat for President. Should this pattern prevail, the result would be a startling change in state presidential politics for more than one reason,” the poll's director, Hunter Bacot, said in a news release. “Not only have the Democrats failed to win North Carolina in over 30 years, such a victory would mark a major milestone for the black community here and throughout the South.”
The latest poll surveyed 477 N.C. residents and has a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.
The Elon poll suggests a tight race in the state's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole and Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan. About 46 percent of the respondents said it was time for a new person to have a chance to represent North Carolina in the Senate. That marks a slight improvement for Dole, according to the university; in the previous poll, 51 percent of the respondents called for a change.
In the governor's race, the poll indicated that 37 percent of the respondents supported the Republican Party and 33 percent supported the Democratic Party.
Respondents were asked to rate each gubernatorial candidate's qualification for office using a 10-point scale, with 1 being “not qualified at all” and 10 being “highly qualified.”
Eighteen percent of those surveyed gave Democrat Bev Perdue an 8-to-10 rating, while another 45 percent gave her a 4-to-7 rating.
Republican Pat McCrory received a favorable rating in the 8-to-10 range from 26 percent, while another 41 percent placed