See 2012 Battleground States for brief analyses of a dozen key states in the 2012 elections, and predictions as to who could win those states.
How North Carolina Votes: Red State or Blue State?
Democratic presidential candidates have only won twice in North Carolina in 40 years: Barack Obama in 2008 and southerner Jimmy Carter in 1976.
In 2008, Democrat Obama won over Republican McCain in the Tar Heel State by an extremely narrow margin... 14,000 votes out of 4.3 million ballots cast... thanks largely to record turnout at the polls for Obama by the state's sizable African-American population.
Per MSNBC exit polls after the 2008 election, Obama's slim margin of victory in North Carolina was due to:
- Black voters, who comprised 23% of voters (95% for Obama)
- Voters under age 30, who comprised 18% of voters (74% for Obama)
- oters with post-graduate degrees, who comprised 13% of voters (56% for Obama)
In the last four presidential elections, North Carolina voted as follows:
- 2008 - 50% for Democrat Obama, 49% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 56% for Republican Bush, 44% for Democrat Kerry
- 2000 - 56% for Republican Bush, 43% for Democrat Gore
- 1996 - 49% for Republican Dole, 44% for Democrat Clinton
Of North Carolina's thirteen U.S. House of Representative members, seven are Democrats and six are Republicans.
Summary of Top Issues in North Carolina
The economy, which encompasses jobs creation and income taxes, is the chief concern among North Carolina voters, who face the nation's 8th highest unemployment rate of 9.9%, and the nation's 15th highest poverty rate of 14.6%.
In 2009, more than 1.5 million non-elderly North Carolina residents, including 269,000 children, had no healthcare insurance coverage. Republican plans to repeal President Obama;s health care reform, which will extend health coverage to all Americans, are staunchly opposed by the Tar Heel state Democratic party.
North Carolina Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - 9.9%, the nation's 8th highest state unemployment rate and well above the national average.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - 1 in 1386 homes, which ranks 33rd among states and is below the state foreclosure average of 1 of 583 homes.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 14.6%, which is ranked 15th among states.
African-American Population - 22% of North Carolina's resident population, the nation's 7th highest state African-American percentage.
Senior Citizen Population - 12.9% of North Carolina's total population, ranking 34th among all states.
Women as a Percentage of North Carolina's Population - 51.3%, ranking 9th among all states, and tied with Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Hispanic Population - 8.4% of North Carolina residents are of Hispanic origin, ranking 24th among all states.
Labor Union Membership - North Carolina does not rank among the Top 20 Labor Union States, and boasts less than 200,000 labor union members who represent less than 10% of the state's workforce.