Presidential Race Tightens In NC: UNC/High Point U Poll

2:37 PM, Oct 12, 2012   |    comments
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2012 is not shaping up to be a landslide win for whoever becomes the next President of the United States.

That's according to a new UNC/HPU Poll, conducted on the High Point University campus. The collaborative poll was conducted with support and from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Final results show a reversal of support for the leading presidential candidate in North Carolina following the first presidential debate.

Although the poll found a slim 46 to 45 percent lead for President Barack Obama across the entire two-week polling period (Sept. 29 to Oct. 10) over former Gov. Mitt Romney, interviews conducted after the Oct. 3 debate suggest a "debate effect" that shifted the advantage from Obama to Republican challenger Romney.

A cell phone and landline telephone survey of 605 registered voters conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 10 found that 46 percent of polled North Carolina registered voters would vote for Obama "if the election were held today," compared to 45 percent who said they would vote for Romney, a slight increase in support (from 43 percent) for the former Massachusetts governor since mid-September.

A closer look at the data, however, suggests a shift related to the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney that occurred on Oct. 3. Prior to the debate, 49 percent said they would vote for Obama and 40 percent chose Romney. After the debate, 49 percent of those surveyed chose Romney compared to 43 percent for Obama.

A previous live interviewer HPU Poll conducted in mid-September found that 46 percent of N.C. registered voters would vote for Obama while 43 percent said they would vote for Romney.

Other findings in the most recent UNC/HPU Poll show Obama's job approval rating at 45 percent with 50 percent disapproval, a decline of four points since the last HPU Poll. A closer look shows Obama's approval rating at 47 percent before the debate and 43 percent after Oct. 3.

Presidential race - registered voters
Question: Thinking ahead to the November 2012 elections, if the election for President of the United States were held today would you be voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

Barack Obama - 46 percent
Mitt Romney - 45 percent
(Other) - 2 percent
(Don't plan to vote) - 1 percent
(Don't know/Refuse) - 6 percent

(For registered voters, Sept. 29 to Oct. 10, n = 605, margin of sampling error is approximately 4 percent, percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

Before the October 3rd Presidential Debate
Barack Obama - 49 percent
Mitt Romney - 40 percent
(Other) - 2 percent
(Don't plan to vote) - 1 percent
(Don't know/Refuse) - 8 percent

(For registered voters, Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, n = 291, margin of sampling error is approximately 5.75 percent, percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

After the October 3rd Presidential Debate
Barack Obama - 43 percent
Mitt Romney - 49 percent
(Other) - 2 percent
(Don't plan to vote) - 1 percent
(Don't know/Refuse) - 5 percent

(For registered voters, Oct. 4 to Oct. 10, n = 312, margin of sampling error is approximately 5.55 percent, percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

"The 'consensus' seems to be that the president did not fare as well in the first debate as his supporters would have liked," said Dr. Daniel Riffe, the Richard Cole Eminent Professor at UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, who helped design and fund the survey. "Even the president has said he 'had a bad night.' Romney supporters, on the other hand, would see the debate outcome reflecting the fact that the challenger had a very strong performance. However you label it, the data are clear."

"When we look at the apparent shift in the vote for president and the possible direction of President Obama's approval numbers, we see that this race is not necessarily headed to an easily foreseeable conclusion," says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll. "We continue to see a consistently close contest that is nevertheless somewhat reactive to campaign events."

Presidential Job approval - Registered voters
Question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
Approve - 45 percent
Disapprove - 50 percent
(Don't know/Refuse) - 5 percent

(For registered voters, Sept. 29 to Oct. 10, n = 605, margin of sampling error is approximately 4 percent, percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

The survey was fielded from Sept. 29 to Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 to Oct. 10, 2012. The responses came from 605 registered voters with landline or cellular telephones in North Carolina selected by a Random Digit Dial (RDD) method.

To see more click on HPU.

**All the content in this story was provided by: High Point University.

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