State of NC
July 11, 2012 1 Comment
The latest PPP poll of North Carolina is out, and has long been the case, it remains basically a dead heat:
Now, in many ways this should be considered surprising. Obama’s super narrow NC win in 2008 meant that he ran several points behind his national average in NC. With Obama and Romney basically tied in national polls, we would therefore naturally expect Obama to be consistently trailing Romney by a modest margin, yet that’s not been the case.
Fortunately, TNR’s Nate Cohn has a nice take on trying to explain this minor political mystery and here’s the key nugget:
Superficially, North Carolina seems like a state that should lean Romney: Obama won it by just 14,000 votes in 2008, so it might be expected to prefer the GOP in a more competitive election. But Obama’s winning coalition has splintered unevenly, with Obama bleeding white working class support while holding firm among college educated whites and minorities. As a result, Obama should be resilient in states like North Carolina, where his coalition is disproportionately composed of the educated and diverse voters who continue to support Obama at 2008 levels. At the same time, demographic changes have further reduced the white working class’ share of the voting eligible population, albeit at a slower pace than over the previous eight years, giving Obama room to overcome modest losses among the sliver of white working class voters who supported him in 2008. These demographic realities ensure a close race in North Carolina so long as the basic demographic contours of the election endure.
Now, next time a reporter wants to talk to me about NC”s battleground/toss-up status I’ll sound really smart and he can quote a Political Science professor in his piece. Meanwhile, my great insight was just reading Cohn’s piece.