RALEIGH — Republican Mitt Romney has a slight lead over President Barack Obama in North Carolina, according to a poll released on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The Elon University Poll found 47 percent of likely voters said they planned to pick Romney compared to 43 percent backing Obama. Six percent of likely voters said they were undecided, evenly split among the two candidates.
The poll found nearly half of the 1,089 sampled voters said the economy was the most important issue. Less than half of those surveyed said they were employed full-time; 17 percent said they were not employed.
The telephone survey was conducted over six days ending Thursday, when Romney gave his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. The poll’s organizers said public attention of the convention gave Romney a small bump of support in the state.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
In a sign of optimism, the poll also found most people were not very worried about losing their job and only 13 percent believed the economy would get worse in the next year. Thirty-seven percent believed it would get better.
North Carolina voters were more likely to see Romney as the better candidate to handle the economy; Obama was viewed as a better candidate to handle foreign affairs.
More than four out of 10 survey respondents said Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate made little difference to whether they would support the Republican ticket. Nearly three in 10 said the Ryan choice made them more likely to back the GOP duo.
Other polls also have pointed to a close presidential race this year for North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes.
In 2008, most polls showed a very tight race with results consistently so close neither Obama nor Republican presidential candidate John McCain could claim a lead. Obama reversed a Democratic Party losing streak in presidential elections since 1976 by capturing the state with a margin of fewer than 15,000 votes.
Democrats have an advantage with 43 percent of registered voters compared to 31 percent registered Republicans, however the number of independent voters is growing. North Carolina has 1.6 million unaffiliated voters now compared to 1.3 million at this time in 2008.