Romney’s Big Slide In North Carolina

Man, Public Policy Polling has poured Mitt Romney a bottomless cup of woe today. In addition to its poll showing Mitt way down in Colorado, PPP has another survey showing him in trouble in what should have been his easiest battleground state, North Carolina:

Obama now leads Romney by 5 points in North Carolina, 49-44. That’s the largest lead we’ve found for him in monthly polling dating back to November of 2010. Obama has a 51-38 advantage with independents and is particularly strong with women (54-39), African Americans (90-7), voters under 30 (61-33), and folks in the Triangle (60-33).

But that’s hardly the worst of it for Romney:

The Republican nomination process has taken a huge toll on Romney’s image in North Carolina. In February of 2011 voters in the state were almost evenly divided on him with 37% rating him favorably to 39% who had a negative opinion of him. Now that spread is a dreadful 29/58. His numbers with GOP voters are about where they’ve been, but he’s seen a considerable drop in his appeal to Democrats and independents.

He was actually popular with independents at 45/36 last winter, now he is incredibly unpopular at 25/62. And what was once a decent amount of crossover appeal to Democrats with 23% seeing him favorably to 52% with a negative opinion is now a 12/77 spread. Romney may see some improvement in his numbers as conservative leaning voters start to unify around him, but for now they’re pretty dreadful.

North Carolina is one of those states whose primary suddenly became irrelevant yesterday when Rick Santorum pulled the plug on his campaign. While that was very good news for Mitt, it does appear he might could have used the extra time gripping and grinning in the Tar Heel State.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.