The Presidential race in North Carolina is about as tight as it can be, and it's also becoming increasingly clear who will end up deciding the winner in the state: voters who would like to continue the direction of President Obama's leadership, but who also strongly dislike Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump leads the race in the state with 45% to 43% for Hillary Clinton and 6% for Gary Johnson. But when Johnson voters and undecideds are asked who they would pick if they had to choose between Clinton and Trump, the contest moves into a tie at 47%.
When you ask the voters who remain undecided in the head to head between Clinton and Trump whether they'd prefer 4 more years of Barack Obama's leadership or the sharp pivot to Trump's vision for the country there's no contest. 62% of them would prefer more Obama, to only 5% who would take Trump's direction. If those folks voted for Clinton and Trump along the same lines, Clinton would have a 50/48 advantage in the state.
There's no guarantee those folks will move that way though. Only 10% of them have a favorable opinion of Clinton, to 75% with an unfavorable view. Of course that puts her in better stead than Trump who literally none of the voters in this group see favorably, to 79% who have a negative opinion of him. Clinton would seem to have a better chance to win these voters over than Trump, if they see her as the continuation of Obama's direction for the country. Overall 51% of voters in the state would rather have four more years of Obama to 46% who prefer Trump. He has the potential to be an incredible asset- perhaps the decisive asset for her- in the closing stretch of the campaign in North Carolina.
A few other notes on North Carolina:
-Underscoring how closely matched the candidates are in the state, they have identical favorability ratings. Clinton and Trump both come in at 40/55.
-63% of voters in the state think Trump needs to release his tax returns, to only 24% who don't think it's necessary for him to do that. That includes a 62/23 sentiment among independents that he needs to do so.
-There continues to be pervasive belief among Trump voters that if Clinton wins, it will only be because of voter fraud. Just 17% think it will be because she received more votes, to 71% who think it will just be because the results were rigged for her.
-By a 30/23 spread, Trump voters in North Carolina say they have a higher opinion of David Duke than they do of Hillary Clinton.
For the first time this entire cycle PPP finds a clear leader in the race to be North Carolina's next Governor: Roy Cooper. Cooper's at 46% to 41% for Pat McCrory, with Libertarian Lon Cecil at 2%. When undecideds and Cecil voters are asked who they'd pick if they had to choose between Cooper and McCrory, Cooper's lead ticks up to 50/43.