Civitas Poll: Obama Negatives Hit 50 Percent, Romney Maintains Lead in North Carolina

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July 20, 2012
CONTACT: Jim Tynen (919) 834-2099

Raleigh, N.C. – A new Civitas Poll shows that 50 percent of likely North Carolina voters have an unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama. They also select Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over Obama by 49 to 48 percent.

“The number of voters who say they have a ‘very unfavorable’ view of President Obama has gone up 6 percentage points to 43 percent just since May,” said Civitas President Francis X. De Luca. “Meanwhile, though Romney has been hit with a barrage of attack ads, in those two months his favorable rating crept up two points to 50 percent. Now he’s also closing in on a majority when voters indicate who they’d vote for.”

Moreover, voters are making up their minds. In the January Civitas Poll, 11 percent were undecided; this new poll puts the number at 3 percent. “Obviously it’s still close and much could happen,” De Luca concluded. “But as voter sentiment solidifies, it will become more difficult for President Obama to pull support away from Romney, especially if, as reported, Romney has a financial advantage over the Obama campaign for the final phase of the presidential race.”

Text of questions:  

If the election for President of the United States were being held today and you had to make a choice, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: Mitt Romney, the Republican, and Barack Obama, the Democrat?

9/11   2/12   5/12   7/12  

50%    46%    47%    49%    Total Romney

39%    48%    45%    48%    Total Obama

41%     38%     40%     42%     Definitely Romney

7%       6%       4%       6%       Probably Romney

2%       2%       2%       1%       Lean Romney

7%       5%       6%       3%       Undecided

1%       1%       1%       1%       Lean Obama

4%       6%       5%       4%       Probably Obama

34%     41%     40%     42%     Definitely Obama

4%       1%       2%       —         Refused

After I read each name, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person.  If you never heard of them, just tell me and we’ll go on to the next one. The (first/next) one is:

TOTAL  TOTAL                 VERY     SMWT    SMWT     VERY            HRD OF/                NEVER
FAV       UNFAV                 FAV       FAV      UNFAV    UNFAV          NO OPIN              HRD OF

Barack Obama

7/12     47%     50%                 33%     14%     7%       43%                 2%                   —

5/12     50%     48%                 35%     15%     11%     37%                 2%                   —

2/12     49%     48%                 33%     16%     9%       38%                 4%                   —

10/11   47%     48%                 30%     17%     11%     37%                 4%                   1%


Mitt Romney

7/12     50%     44%                 25%     24%     12%     32%                 6%                   1%

5/12     47%     42%                 20%     27%     13%     29%                 9%                   2%

For crosstabs, click here.

About the Poll:

This poll of 600 registered 2012 general election voters in North Carolina was conducted July 16-18, 2012 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ.  All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered 2012 general election voters in North Carolina.  For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past three general elections (2006, 2008, 2010) or be newly registered to vote since November 2, 2010.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in at least one of the past three general elections or is newly registered since November 2, 2010.

The Civitas Poll is the only regular live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina.  For more information on Civitas polling, see

More information on the Civitas Institute is available at, or contact Jim Tynen at (919) 834-2099.


About Jim Tynen

Communications director at Civitas.
This article was posted in Press Releases by Jim Tynen on July 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM.

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Comments on this article

  • 1

    Mike Jul 22, 2012 at 16:41

    After all this money spent attacking the president by the likes of Karl Rove and the Koch’s brother, NC is dead heat.

    No amount of moeny would buy my vote.

  • 2

    Numbercruncher Jul 23, 2012 at 10:11

    Problem with this poll, is that it is oversampling Democrats.

    The issue is of sample size. The pollster should have ask whether you “consider yourself” a Democrat, Republican or Independent. Not “are you registered”. When achieving polling targets, self identification is far more important than part registration. Simply put, the pollster cannot verify this.

    In looking at past elections the FINAL ADJUSTED exit polls in 2004 and 2010 told us that that their were as many self identified Republicans as Democrats. The ONLY exception is 2008 where this gap became an 11 point Democrat advantage. Also noteworthy is that the Democrat advantage in registration in 2012 on a percentage basis is not only lower than 2008 but 2004 when Bush won easy. One of the quickest way to see a trend in a battleground state (I don’t concede NC is one) is the trend in registration.

    Now in fairness this pollster does ask what party are you registered, ….and the pollster correctly targets a +12% Democrat advantage. But this is not how to poll the electorate in NC; there are a number of voters, specifically older voters who may “think” they are Republicans who never bothered to changed their registration. Let me put it to you another way, Democrats have traditionally enjoyed a significant party registration advantage, yet over the past 30 years they have not faired nearly as well at the ballot box!

    This is why the more experienced (and unbiased) pollsters, do not ask for “party registration” but rather “Party preference”.

    If I were running a poll I would target a +2 Democrat self-identified advantage (adjusting such based on historical trends in party registration). For example if in October the party registration trends diminish, I would adjust the sample to +1 Republican.

    Because of raw Registration NC is a tricky state, but make no mistake, NC is not in play. NC voters can take some relief that the advertising in October will diminish significantly as Obama will likely pull his money out of NC in early October. Obama needs to worry more about holding PA than what is a luxury in holding NC.

  • 3

    JAMES Sep 11, 2012 at 22:27

    Numbercruncher, you are dead on. NC is Republican country now!

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