The Democratic Party kicks off its nominating convention on Tuesday in Charlotte. The selection of convention cities is usually strategic, but it's an open question whether this one can pave the way for a repeat victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by the slimmest of margins in 2008, with 13,692 votes over John McCain out of over 4.2 million votes cast.
The Elon poll, conducted Aug. 25 to 30, spanned the days of the Republican convention in Tampa and shows a slight tilt to Romney. But other polls just before the GOP convention and since show a narrower race.
A poll from CNN/Time Magazine/ORC ending Aug. 26 pegged the race at 48 to 47 percent for Obama and Romney among likely voters. An automated poll for High Point University by Survey USA ending Aug. 23 had the race tied at 43 percent each among registered voters.
Two new automated polls show a narrow race. One completed on Sept. 2 from the Democratically aligned Public Policy Polling has the race at 48 percent each among likely voters and the newest poll from High Point University (completed August 30) has the race at 46 percent for Romney to 43 percent for Obama among registered voters.
One of the most important groups that powered Obama to victory in 2008 was young voters, who supported him overwhelmingly. Those under age 30 went to Obama by 74 to 26 percent according to exit polls. This was the difference maker - he lost among every other age group.
In the new Elon poll, Obama is much softer among young voters, winning by just 58 to 34 percent. Perhaps the convention in Charlotte can excite young voters in a similar fashion, but just 36 percent in that age group say they are "very excited" about the election.