The Washington Times - June 13, 2011, 01:36PM

As President Obama tours a renewable energy firm in North Carolina Monday, a new poll finds he’s “well-positioned” to carry the Tar Heel state again in 2012.

In 2008, Mr. Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina in more than three decades, edging out Republican nominee Sen. John McCain by just one-third of a percentage point. Three years later, the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm says part of the reason Mr. Obama’s on track to repeat his victory is because he hasn’t lost much ground among white and independent voters in the state.


Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating in North Carolina stands at 49 percent, according to PPP, with 47 percent of voters disapproving of him.

Among white voters, he has 35 percent approval — down just 2 percentage points from 2008, when he captured 37 percent of the white vote in the state. Mr. Obama’s backing is fairly evenly split among independents, with 47 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving.

He enjoys a whopping 76-percent approval rating among voters younger than 30, PPP found.

The president leads five potential Republican rivals, but a face-off against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be close, with Mr. Obama ahead 45 percent to the Republican’s 44 percent, according to PPP, which surveyed 563 voters between June 8 and June 11.

“Obama’s approval numbers in North Carolina are superior to what we’re finding for him in your quintessential swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida,” the firm said in a memo. “While North Carolina was one of the closest states in the country in 2008, it was really just the cherry on top for Obama in an electoral landslide. This time it could very well be part of the path to 270 electoral votes for the president.”

Indeed, Democrats have made no secret of their desire to hang on to North Carolina next year. Mr. Obama has made several visits to the state since taking office, and selected Charlotte, N.C. as the site of next year’s Democratic convention.