Yes, NC is still in play
October 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Nate Cohn keeps re-tweeting a link to this every day, so I really ought to post it here:
How could Obama lose 7 points nationally, yet remain close in a state that he won by just 14,000 votes in a historic election? The answer lies in the resilience of Obama’s diverse coalition and the changing composition of North Carolina’s electorate.
For the most part, Obama’s biggest losses have come from predominantly white states where Obama won plenty of moderate, former Bush voters—like Wisconsin, Montana, and Indiana. North Carolina is relatively insulated from Obama’s losses, since most of Obama’s gains came from young voters, college educated whites, and African Americans, three groups where Obama’s support has remained relatively resilient. Indeed, nearly half of Obama’s ’08 voters in North Carolina were non-white—more than any other battleground state. From this perspective, North Carolina has not moved toward the Democrats, but the rest of the country, where white working class voters play a more central role in the Democratic coalition, has just moved away from Obama at a faster pace…
However, the changing composition of North Carolina’s electorate allows Obama to compensate for at least some of Obama’s losses since 2008, even if it only leaves the president with a narrow path to victory. According to the most recent voter registration data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the white share of registered voters has declined to 71.5 percent, from 73.4 percent on Election Day 2008 and 74.2 percent at this time four years ago.
NC has not been well-polled this month. The latest from PPP shows a tie (and a recent analysis of all the pollsters shows that PPP is pretty close to right down the middle– only a very slight D lean). Right now, it’s pretty clear you’ve got to give Romney a small advantage in this state, but that advantage is likely no bigger than the advantage the Obama has in Ohio, and Romney’s certainly not giving up there.