Hillary Clinton is closing in on Barack Obama in North Carolina where the contest for the state’s 134 delegates will be held May 6, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted March 17. Obama’s lead is now 44 percent to 43 percent with a 4.3 percent margin of error. PPP’s last poll had his lead at 4 points and a SurveyUSA poll taken March 8-10 had it at 8 points. PPP says that the controversy over Obama’s ex-pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has hurt him here as well in polls it has conducted in Pennsylvania and Florida. It should be noted, though, that these polls were conducted before Obama’s Philadelphia speech yesterday. A national CBS News poll, also conducted before the speech, reported that most Americans said the controversy had not affected their views of Obama.
In the PPP poll, Clinton led Obama among Democrats 44 percent to 43 percent but that was offset by Obama’s strong support among unaffiliated voters where he had a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent. Clinton leads among white voters 56 percent to 30 percent while Obama leads among black voters 72 percent to 19 percent. the gender gap is not as pronounced here as it is in some other states. Another difference in this poll is that Clinton is doing better among younger voters than older voters. Fifty four percent of Democrats cited the economy as the top issue in the campaign and 21 percent named Iraq. As in a lot of other state polls, all other issues have fallen into single digits.