With a large African American population and growing research triangle, North Carolina is seen as one of the Obama campaign’s top targets to “expand” the election map beyond the more traditional battleground states. That is why it was selected for the DNC national convention. Unfortunately for the Obama team, though, a new PPP poll shows Romney gaining serious ground in the state and now holding a two point lead. From PPP:

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 48-46. It’s a small lead but still significant in that it’s the first time we’ve found Romney ahead in our monthly polling of the state since October.

Romney’s gained 7 points on Obama in North Carolina since April, when the President led by a 49-44 margin. Since then Romney’s erased what was a 51-38 lead for Obama with independents and taken a 42-41 lead with that voting group. He’s also increased his share of the Democratic vote from 15% to 20%, suggesting he’s convincing some more conservative voters within the party to cross over.

While Obama technically won North Carolina in 2008, it was by less than half a percent, and that was during a Democratic wave election. Almost no one expects Obama to come anywhere close to matching the overall level of support he had last time.

Obviously we are very far out from the election, but this another piece of positive news for Mitt Romney.