Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Another Significant Court Case Dealing with NC's Congressional Districts

Never underestimate that a major news story can break while you are cooking dinner--which is what happened this evening.

A federal three-judge district court panel for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a 190 page opinion striking down the 2016's congressional district maps drawn by state legislative Republicans. In the past, the factor that drew the court's ire was race, but this time, the judges took square aim at partisan gerrymandering and ruled the 10-3 GOP-favor maps unconstitutional. To summarize, this is a significant opinion that may likely determine how partisanship reigns, or doesn't, in the future of American politics. Here are the highlights of the opinion, based on a Tweet thread that I posted, and a little background:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gallup Finds 42% are Politically "Independent" (But It's Not Really 42%)

It's time once again, when folks will point to today's Gallup Poll findings that in 2017, "42% of Americans, on average, identified as political independents, erasing the decline to 39% seen in the 2016 presidential election year." This will be heralded as the continued demise of political parties, when it comes to partisan identification, and calls will be brought forth for "see, it's time for a third party!"

Thursday, January 4, 2018

North Carolina's "Blue Moon" Election Cycle and Its Congressional Contests

With North Carolina entering its "blue moon" mid-term election cycle (meaning that, with the exception of a few judicial contests, no major state-wide race (for example, a U.S. Senate or gubernatorial contest) will be on the ballot this year in the Old North State), so the focus for Tar Heel political observers will generally be on the legislative districts, both congressional and state house and senate. For this analysis, I'll be focusing on the thirteen congressional districts in the state and their dynamics internally when it comes to voter registration at the beginning of 2018.

First, some general context for whenever we talk about mid-term elections and what we know from the past; and yes, I understand, very acutely, that some of the "rules" that we (political scientists and historians) know from the past have been either "bent" or "broken" when it comes to this current political environment. However, since we don't have anything else to rely upon when it comes to investigating and trying to understand this environment until the actual election, we need to stick with some of the basic principles that have shaped our politics, especially when focusing on mid-term elections.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Some deeper dives into NC's registered Millennial Voters

As a follow-up to the previous post, I thought about the division among race and gender when it comes to North Carolina's Millennial registered voters, and broke out the 2 million registered voters under the age of 35 as of the December 30, 2017 voter registration file, courtesy of the North Carolina Board of Elections.

First, the overall trend lines for registered Millennial and the first members of Generation Z since 1999 and their party registration:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Investigating Millennials & Generation Z in North Carolina's Voter Pool

Based on yesterday's blog post, I decided to dig deeper into the Millennial (those born between 1981 and 1997) and the newest generation, Generation Z (those born in and after 1998), registered voter in North Carolina to see:

First, some broad national understanding of the Millennials and Generation Z: the Pew Research Center has an excellent series on research and analysis of these two generations. As someone who has watched these trends for some time, I believe these generations will have a tectonic shift on the country's (and thus the Old North State's) political environment and dynamics.

The following national data comes from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES), which you can find the data and do your own number crunching via this webpage.

First, to give some context to the NC registration figures that I'll present below, I looked at the electorate breakdowns by generations within the 2016 ANES Data. For purposes of defining the generations (see above for Millennials and Generation Z, which I am combining for the remainder of the analysis, unless noted), Generation X cohort are those born between 1966 and 1980, Baby Boomers are those born between 1945 and 1965, and the Greatest/Silent generations were born before 1945.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017's End of the Year Analysis of NC's Voter Registration Pool

As has been my want over the past few years, I'm going to present a "here's where we stand" analysis of the voter registration pool in the Old North State. While a lot of folks are making their 2018 predictions, I've decided to stay away from the mindless "here's what's going to happen" in the new year because if the past three years have taught us anything about politics, it is that punditry predictions are usually pointless.

So, with that said, North Carolina's voter registration pool ends the year with 6.8 million registered voters (active and inactive voters), a decrease of 79,000 voters (or down 1.1 percent) from the November 2016 pool. Of these 6.8 million, 39 percent are registered with the Democratic Party, 31 percent are registered unaffiliated, and 30 percent are registered Republican, with less than one percent registered Libertarian (I'll be focusing these analysis and charts on the big three registration groups).  This year was a notable one in the fact that registered unaffiliated voters surpassed registered Republicans to claim the second spot in the Old North State.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

UPDATED: Charlotte's Mayoral Election: Too Close to Call or Repeating Past Democratic Advantages?

11-5-17: Updated to reflect latest NC BoE Numbers for absentee ballots as of November 6, 2017:

While it's an "odd year," elections in America happen every year. But in the Old North State, the major elections in 2017 are at the most local level: mayoral, city council, even school boards. And in the region that I live in, Charlotte's mayoral election has taken on a unique perspective, from what appears by one poll to be a considerably tight race in an urban area that has trended overwhelmingly Democratic in the past few years.

Tuesday's election will focus on Mecklenburg County (by results) and the Charlotte city elections, but with some investigation and data crunching, some early voting trends can be seen within the context of the registered voter pool within the city limits of the Queen City.

Based on the North Carolina State Board of Election's voter registration numbers from Saturday, November 4, the city of Charlotte's total number of registered active and inactive voters is 551,454, with registered Democrats having 48 percent of the pool, registered unaffiliated voters at 31 percent, and registered Republicans with 21 percent (registered Libertarians are barely one percent of the pool and votes being cast, so this analysis will focus on the big three registration factions).