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.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Previewing the NC 9th Congressional District Election on Sept. 10

While the summer news has been dominated by events outside of North Carolina (well, unless you count a recent presidential rally in Greenville), the Ninth Congressional District general election, featuring Democrat Dan McCready against Republican Dan Bishop, has been steadily marching on its own path towards the finish line of the September 10th general election.

However, this race may be nationalized by events outside of the district, most notably the recent presidential feud with "The Squad" and the horrific mass shootings in both El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

One of the ramifications already pontificated about from these events is the impact on the 2020 election, most notably some political observers suggesting that Trump's racism and rhetorical alignment with white nationalism and supremacy and his insensitivity regarding the mass shootings may continue to push suburban voters away from the President. Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report tweeted that:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Previewing North Carolina for 2020's Election

With an upcoming interview for Spectrum News' "Capital Tonight" that previews the 2020 election in North Carolina, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some findings of the Old North State's electoral dynamics in the past several presidential election years, as we are slated to another "competitive battleground/lean GOP" state for next year's campaign.

As a reminder, since 2008, the state has witness some of the closest presidential elections in the nation among the states, following the 13 percentage-point victories for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004:


Since 2008, the number of voters casting ballots has gone up about 200,000 each election (+194,583 in 2012 from 2008's total, and +236,192 in 2016 over 2012's total). Voter turnout has typically been 68 to 69 percent of the registered voter pool, equating to around 4.5 million ballots cast.

To put things into a comparative perspective, North Carolina tends to be about 3.5 percent more Republican since 2008 than the nation, using the Republican presidential candidates' performance nationally to the state's GOP performance.


Thus, it's a fair assessment to say that North Carolina is a "center/lean-right" kind of a state.

The following data is from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which, along with the American National Election Study, is a significant survey of Americans in election years, and provides some data, trends, and patterns to consider as we move into the 2020 election.