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Joining Obama in Charlotte: lackluster poll numbers

Protesters lined South Tryon Street during President Obama’s 2010 visit to a southwest Charlotte manufacturing plant.
Protesters lined South Tryon Street during President Obama’s 2010 visit to a southwest Charlotte manufacturing plant. LAURA-CHASE MCGEHEE - lcmcgehee@

Barack Obama’s heading back to Charlotte Wednesday to tout his economic proposals, but a recent poll suggests about half of North Carolina voters don’t have much confidence in his ability to get good things done for the nation.

A poll released Friday by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh found that 53 percent of the 751 North Carolina voters surveyed disapprove of the president’s job performance. Some 42 percent approve, while 5 percent weren’t sure.

(Nationally, 50 percent of Americans disapprove of his job performance, while 45 percent approve, according to Real Clear Politics. That’s down from nearly 55 percent in August. Gallup puts his approval rating at 48 percent – well above George W. Bush’s 37 percent for this point in his presidency, but far below Bill Clinton’s 60 percent. Presidents have averaged about 46 percent at roughly this point, Gallup says).

While Obama might have hoped for better after killing Osama Bin Laden and shepherding the economy back from the brink of collapse, voters in the Public Policy Polling survey also gave fairly high negative marks to the most of the hopefuls who want to take his place.

Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating stood at 53 percent in the poll, which was conducted April 2-5 and included 351 Republican primary voters and 370 Democratic primary voters. Republican candidate Marco Rubio’s negative rating stood at 35 percent, with nearly as many respondents unsure how they feel about him.

Other hopefuls’ unfavorability ratings in North Carolina:

  • Jeb Bush 45 percent
  • Chris Christie 48 percent
  • Rand Paul 41 percent
  • Ted Cruz 38 percent
  • Scott Walker 27 percent

The poll shows Bush leading the GOP field in North Carolina, but it also shows Bush joining Christie and surgeon Ben Carson as the only Republican hopefuls trailing Clinton in the state. Ted Cruz is rising here at the expense of Scott Walker.

It will be interesting to see how things sort themselves out once all the candidates have entered the field and received whatever polling bounce they’ll get from press coverage of their campaign rollout. It’s still so early virtually anyone can rise to or fall from the first tier of candidates, as doomed 2012 GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani can attest.

Just don’t expect to see Hillary Clinton clamoring for Obama to go barnstorming across North Carolina for her anytime soon.

--Eric Frazier

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