Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Tar Heel Thumpin'

As I was watching the results come in at the news studio of WSOC in Charlotte, I was thinking before 7:30 PM, "so which poll got it right in North Carolina?" They were completely all over the place, anywhere from 3-13% with Obama leading. It seemed like in the past two weeks before the primary, Clinton was making up some serious ground and that she would pull another "rural surprise" in doing well in the rural areas of the state, much like she did in PA and OH.

Well, it's all over and it's been a thumpin, to quote Pres. Bush after the 2006 mid-term election. Obama needed to win North Carolina, and boy did he--by 14%. This, coupled with Indiana's close, close, close primary, has pretty much sealed the nomination for Obama.

But in looking at the NC exit polls (which, we all should acknowledge, should be taken with the requisite grain of salt--and remember, these exit polls didn't count early voters which were about 500,000 voters), Obama seemed to recuperate among several key voter-groups that he needed in order to secure the victory.

  • First, with about 34% of the electorate made up of black voters, he won a larger percentage then typically in the past, with 91% going for Obama.
  • White men, who made up 27% of the electorate's exit poll respondents, gave him 42, which compared to PA (44%) and OH (39%) is doing pretty well. It is still with white women (34% of the exit poll respondents) that Obama continues to struggle with, getting only 33% of their vote--not suprising at all, considering his opponent.
  • The "middle class" vote that he struggled with in both PA and OH returned solidly behind Obama, with only those making $50-99K giving him 52 to 53% of the vote. Other all categories were solidly behind him.
  • Likewise, all levels of education gave him majority support.
  • Two key types of voters were also important: those citing the economy and those citing the need for change supported him. Those listing the economy (60% of the respondents, second only to Indiana with the highest ranking in all of the primaries so far) went 53-45, while those wanting change (51% of the respondents) giving him overwhelming support, 77-22 over Clinton.
  • In the typical primary winning areas for Clinton, she usually got the late-deciders (and did so again in NC, 52-45), but she lost in the rural areas (52-45) and suburbs (53-46) that she normally counted on as her electoral base.

Once I get the certified results from the State Board of Elections with the precinct returns, I'll be posting some further analysis on the rural/urban/suburban voting patterns in NC to see how the "reality" matches up with the exit polls. Stay tuned (though it may be later in the summer once I get all the data and numbers crunched).