Obama would have considerably more trouble with Mitt Romney, who fights him to a 46-46 tie in the state. There has been an amazing degree of consistency in PPP's North Carolina Obama/Romney polling- over the course of 14 monthly surveys the result has always been something between a 1 point Romney lead and a 3 point Obama advantage. Obama has fallen into the 44-47% range every time and Romney has come in somewhere between 42-46% each time. There's a little doubt a contest between the two would be a hard fought toss up race.
Gingrich and Romney post virtually identical numbers against Obama with both Republicans and independents. But the key to winning statewide in North Carolina as a Republican is to peel off a lot of conservative Democrats- roughly 20% of the registered Democratic vote- and Romney is much better positioned to do that than Gingrich.
Obama leads Romney 79-16 among Democrats, a 63 point margin identical to the one we found on our final 2008 poll when he led John McCain 81-18. McCain flips that to an 80-19 Obama advantage with Democratic voters and he wins the state. Against Gingrich though Obama builds on the size of his 2008 win with Democrats, leading by 69 points at 83-14. North Carolina is just one of several important states where Democrats have a large registration advantage and Republican victory is dependent on getting significant crossover support- at this point Gingrich does not appear well positioned to do that.
Obama's approval numbers this month are the best they've been since June in North Carolina with 47% of voters giving him good marks to 50% who disapprove of him. Obama hit a low point in the state in late September at 44/53. Since then he's improved to 43/51 from 35/63 with independents and has seen Democrats rally around him some, going from 75/21 to 79/18 with them. Obama's popularity decline in North Carolina relative to his 2008 showing at the ballot box is much smaller than it is in other states.
Ron Paul trails Obama 47-42 in North Carolina and it's yet another state where Paul is the strongest candidate with independents, holding a 47-39 advantage over Obama with them. Paul as the GOP contender who does best with unaffiliated voters is becoming more the rule than the exception in our polling. Rick Perry trails Obama by 8 points at 50-42, and the now departed Herman Cain rounds out the folks we tested with a 13 point deficit to Obama at 50-37. This is another state where for as dreadful a week as Herman Cain had right before we took the poll, his favorability spread of 25/59 is better than Perry's 19/65.
We've polled Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina in the last couple weeks and found a similar story in all three of these key swing states- the GOP nominates Romney and it's a sheer toss up. They nominate Gingrich and it's advantage Obama.
Full results here