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Why Red States Turned Blue in 2008 - Virginia and North Carolina

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Why Red States Turned Blue in 2008 - Virginia and North Carolina

Actress Ashley Judd arrives at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at the University of North Carolina on October 30, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
Obama won historic victories in two Southern states that usually vote Republican: Virginia by 52% (1,905,517 votes) to 47% (1,703,424 votes) for McCain, and a near-tie in North Carolina by 2,123,395 votes for Obama to 2,109,402 votes for McCain.

In both states, voter demographics have changed considerably in the last decade to include more younger and non-white voters, groups which both supported Obama.

Virginia
"Obama got 52 percent of the vote in Virginia, which no Democrat had carried since 1964, by 'vastly outperforming' his party's 2004 nominee John Kerry in fast-growing suburbs... " reported Bloomberg News.

Recently, the state has elected its two most recent governors from the Democratic party, and in 2006, sent moderate Democrat Jim Webb to the U.S. Senate.

Forbes.com commented, "Virginia hasn’t voted for a Democratic candidate for president since 1964.... Obama not only won the state, but Mark Warner’s Senate victory means that Virginia has essentially switched from Red to Blue...

"A surprise? Not really. The Northern Virginia area has been trending Democrat for years. Government expansion after 9/11 brought in a slew of jobs and growth to a relatively liberal area of the state."

Per MSNBC exit polls, Obama's largest support in Virginia came from:

  • Black voters, who comprised 20% of voters (92%)
  • Voters citing the ECONOMY as their top concern, who comprised 58% of voters (54%)
  • Independent voters, who comprised 27% of voters (49%)
  • Voters under age 40, who comprised 41% of voters (56%)

North Carolina
"A generation ago, what North Carolinian would imagine that a black man could carry the state in a presidential contest?" wondered the News Observer in North Carolina.

"But Wednesday, Tar Heels began considering what it means that Barack Obama seems to have won North Carolina... Not since since 1976 has a Democratic presidential candidate carried this state." tne News Observer continued.

Per MSNBC exit polls, Obama's slim margin of victory in North Carolina from:

  • Voters under age 30, who comprised 18% of voters (74%)
  • Black voters, who comprised 23% of voters (95%)
  • Black women voters, who comprised 14% of voters (100%!)
  • Voters with post-graduate degrees, who comprised 13% of voters (56%)

"The Obama campaign targeted North Carolina, spending millions on TV advertising and building a grassroots effort that included 50 offices and 400 paid staffers," reported the News Observer.

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