Thursday, November 7, 2019

Are NC "Suburbs" Trending Like National Suburbs?

With the analysis settling on the 2019 odd-year elections, the national narrative appears to be focused on the suburban swings against the GOP and towards the Democrats. And in the 2019 general election in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District, the 'swing' seemed to be more dichotomous in the 'suburbs.' More on that later.

First, an assumption: it is popularly imagined about the differences between 'urban' versus 'rural' areas of our nation and state. For example, an urban county contains a densely-populated central city (Mecklenburg County with Charlotte, Wake County with Raleigh), while 'rural' designates an area beyond a metropolitan area of the urban and surrounding suburbs, typically with low population density. Those are easily envisioned in their characteristics, and even more so nowadays in their 'political behavior.'

It's when you get into the 'suburbs' that popular conceptions of that type of region come into some potential differences. In my analyses, I rely on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's 2017's classification of metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs. These MSAs designated a central city, surrounded by counties that are connected with the central city (surrounding suburban counties). Then, whatever counties are left, are considered 'rural' (and yes, there are micropolitan statistical areas, but I leave that for future analyses).

Thursday, October 31, 2019

How Important is the Last Saturday of Early Voting in NC?

With the recent bill in the North Carolina General Assembly making changes to the 'absentee by mail' process of voting in North Carolina, a provision was inserted that garnered bi-partisan support to include the last Saturday before Election Day as an 'early voting' day. The provision was likely in response to a lawsuit, filed by national and state Democrats, seeking to have the last Saturday included in the state's early voting period. The Saturday before Election Day had typically been the last day of early voting in the state.

In looking at the past four general elections (2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018), the early voting period saw the largest percentages of votes being cast by "absentee onestop," otherwise known as 'absentee in-person'; the other method of 'early voting' in North Carolina is absentee by mail. But how great a role has the last Saturday of in-person early voting played in these past elections, and in particular, what kind of impact has black/African American voters had in utilizing this form of convenience voting?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The NC Legislature Couldn't Use Political Data, But The Rest of Us Can: Analysis of the Proposed NC Maps

Now that the new NC legislative district maps have been submitted for review by the three-judge panel, those of us who study North Carolina politics can analyze how these maps may 'politically behave' with election data, something the General Assembly was barred from doing by court order.

As a reminder, the court held that the legislature had engaged in partisan gerrymandering with the state legislative district maps, and ordered the General Assembly to redraw the district maps containing the following counties in the state house:

"The Almanac of American Politics" Profiles of North Carolina & NC Governor's Race in 2020


The following text was provided to this blog by the authors of The Almanac of American Politics 2020 Edition, who retain copyright for this material and assume responsibility for the content:


North Carolina State Profile


In few states today is the political climate more polarized between Democrats and Republicans--and between rural, urban and suburban areas--than in North Carolina. Bolstered by rapid population growth from other states, North Carolina, and particularly its suburban areas, has become a hard-fought battleground, especially over the direction of state government. Beginning in 2010, North Carolina Republicans enjoyed large legislative majorities and increasing success in winning races at all levels. But in 2018, after seemingly endless battles over control of the state’s levers of power, voters dialed back their support for Republicans, electing enough Democrats to break the GOP’s legislative supermajorities, and in turn bolstering Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s leverage in policy debates. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Analyzing the "Non-Partisan" Legislative Districts in Mecklenburg County

With the approval of the proposed North Carolina State House and State Senate 'non-partisan' legislative maps, the North Carolina General Assembly is close to meeting its court-ordered redrawing of legislative districts for review by the three-judge superior court panel this week.

Much has been made about whether the new legislative districts in certain counties represent a truly 'non-partisan' redrawing of the maps, especially since the court order mandated that no electoral (read, partisan) data was to be used in the creation of the new districts.

There will be some debate over whether the 'base-line' maps (selected by random draws from the simulated maps provided by Dr. Chen) were non-partisan or not, but that is for the court to decide. However, those of us outside the legislative process do have partisan/electoral data at our disposal to analyze the precincts assigned to the proposed state house and senate districts.

While there are several counties that are being redrawn due to the court order, I decided to use Mecklenburg County to analyze their proposed state house and senate districts, due to the fact that Mecklenburg County gives their precinct election results with early votes (absentee one-stop, in particular) assigned back to the voter's respective precinct. Some counties (like Wake County) do not have their early votes publicly reassigned back to the precinct, make it harder to analyze a precinct's true electoral behavior (if anyone has a lead on how to get those precinct election returns to include early votes, please drop me an e-mail).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Some Preliminary Findings from the NC Ninth: What Can We Learn?


The two-point margin of victory for Republican Dan Bishop over Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District might give some clues about where things potentially stand in the American electorate, while also demonstrating some voting trends unique to the Old North State.

Voter loyalty is intense.

Much of the national attention was on whether 2018’s last congressional election would be a potential bellwether election leading into the 2020 election cycle. The battle over the Ninth did show that a historic Republican district (GOP controlled since 1963) and that was drawn as a safe district perform as a Republican district.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Could We Finally Have an Election in the NC 9th?

Following the electoral fraud regarding absentee by mail ballots in the North Carolina Ninth, one of the nation's longest 'undecided' congressional elections from 2018 is finally coming to an end (we hope) this coming Tuesday, September 10. While it's still the only unresolved U.S. House race left for the Congress, some of the dynamics that we could see Tuesday may signal that it is also the first election for the 2020 U.S. House.

This lengthy blog post will review some of the 9th District's demographics and its 2016 and 2018 electoral performance, its current voter registration, its early voting leading up to Tuesday's general election, and then some final thoughts as to what I'll be looking for Tuesday evening.

As a reminder, the North Carolina 9th stretches from Bladen County and Cumberland County, with the city of Fayetteville, in the eastern portion of the state, westward to the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County.