Barack Obama's approval numbers have been on the rise nationally as of late, and the same trend has come to North Carolina. 48% of voters in the state approve of him to 49% who disapprove. That's the highest his approval rating has been since June.
Obama hit a low point in September at 43/53. He's seen improvement across the board since then but the really significant movement has come with independents. Where they disapproved of him by a 2:1 margin five months ago at 31/62, now they're pretty much breaking even at 48/49. Obama's still weaker with independents in the state than he was 4 years ago but he's made a lot of progress.
Obama leads the entire Republican field in the state, although most of the margins are close. He's up 47-46 on Mitt Romney, 48-46 on Rick Santorum, 50-45 on Newt Gingrich, and 47-41 on Ron Paul.
Santorum is the most 'popular' of the Republican candidates with a 35/50 favorability rating. Romney's at 31/56, Gingrich at 30/58, and Paul at 24/60. This continues a recent trend of weak numbers for Romney in battleground states. In addition to the North Carolina numbers he's at 28/56 in Ohio, 30/54 in Missouri, and 29/56 in Minnesota. Those numbers will pretty definitely improve if he ends up with the nomination, but they're not a good starting point.
North Carolina makes another state where Paul is the strongest candidate with independents, leading Obama by 2 points with them even as the rest of the Republican field lags the President. Paul's favorability with independents (39/46) is actually much better than it is with Republicans (25/62).
This is our 16th monthly poll on the Presidential race in North Carolina and the story has really been the same every time- this should be one of the most closely fought swing states in the country this fall.
Full results here