Does Barack Obama have a black voter problem? A new survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Obama losing black support in North Carolina. The poll found Mitt Romney winning 20 percent of North Carolina’s black vote to Obama’s 76 percent. While still a Democratic landslide, Obama beat John McCain by 95 percent to 5 percent among these voters in 2008. In PPP’s May poll, Obama was beating Romney 87 percent to 11 percent.
Obama’s African-American approval rating in North Carolina has also taken a relative beating, dropping from 86 percent to 77 percent while Romney’s favorability has doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent. A possible explanation is same-sex marriage, which the state’s black voters opposed by a wide margin but the president has since announced he supports.
There are two problems with this poll, however. First, the sample size is such that PPP polling analyst Jim Williams told Business Insider it could be “statistical noise.” Only 200 blacks were polled. I can think of other polls with small minority sample sizes that have reported disproportionately large minority support for GOP candidates. Secondly, this slide in black support has yet to be corroborated by any other state or national poll. The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza pushes back hard against drawing any conclusions from this poll, using charts and everything.
That said, it wouldn’t take much of a dip among black voters to hurt Obama. If black turnout is closer to the 11 percent of the electorate it was in 2004 than the 13 percent it was in 2008, or if black support for the Democratic ticket is closer to 85 percent than 95 percent, it could make a big difference. Our friend James Taranto reminds us of his 2008 prediction that a Republican presidential candidate will win at least 30 percent of the black vote by 2028.