The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling group's recent poll of North Carolina voters shows that President Obama has lost his lead for the first time in nine months to the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. But what is most notable is that black voters are moving away from Obama at an alarming rate.
Of black voters surveyed, 76 percent favored Obama, yet 20 percent said they were supporting Romney. "That seems like an unrealistically low share of African American voters for Obama," PPP noted.
The Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors said this latest poll comes as no surprise given the president's recent stance on controversial issues, especially same-sex marriage.
"This is a potential political earthquake for President Obama. We are not surprised because we have been hearing from hundreds of pastors and ordinary black Christians who are saddened and outraged that the President endorsed gay marriage," Owens said in a statement Tuesday.
"We love and respect our President. We admire him as the son that we who marched with Rev. King for civil rights hoped we would have. And many of us feel immense betrayal that he has ignored our views and values on marriage. It's not too late, Mr. President. You can continue to evolve on this issue. Come home to your roots in the black church and the genuine civil rights movement."
The latest PPP poll released Tuesday comes in the wake of one of the most difficult weeks that President Obama has endured in a long time and will most certainly cause the White House to worry about their most consistent and solid base of support – black voters.
Romney now leads Obama 48-46 percent in the Tar Heel state after trailing by one-point in a similar poll conducted in May.
Obama's loss of support may stem from a number of factors, two of which include the state's recent passage of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, combined with the president's public announcement that he now supports same-sex marriage – an issue that is not popular with black voters.
"North Carolina remains one of the most closely contested swing states in the country," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, in a statement. "But there has been a modest shift toward Mitt Romney since he wrapped up the Republican nomination."
Among those surveyed for the poll, 44 percent were Democrats, 36 percent identified themselves as Republican and 20 percent as Independent/Other.
North Carolina is scheduled to host the Democratic National Committee convention in early September and because of Obama's eroding support in the state, several Democratic elected officials and labor union leaders have called for the convention to be moved to another state. But that is unlikely given the convention is only 10 weeks away.
PPP surveyed 810 North Carolina voters from June 7 to June 10. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.4 percent, thus making the race a virtual dead-heat.