Friday, May 2, 2008

Where Might Clinton & Obama Watch for Votes on Tuesday?

After looking at some recent polls indicating that the race for the Democratic Presidential Primary is tightening in North Carolina, some deeper investigation and some historic trend analysis may point to some areas of the state that each candidate should be watching for on Tuesday evening:
  • For Sen. Clinton, turnout in the Blue Ridge Mountains, excluding Buncombe and its Asheville urban area, as well as turnout in the land of the Jesse-crats (down east, past Raleigh towards the coast) will be crucial. Obama will probably do well in Asheville, but the surrounding mountain counties are as staunchly rural and conservative as any rural county in Pennsylvania or Ohio--and that's where Clinton does best. The same is said for the flat-land, tobacco rural counties downeast.
  • For Sen. Obama, the turnout in the I-85/40 corridor in the middle of the state will be crucial for him to stave off the surge that Clinton appears to be making in the past week. As noted earlier, 15 counties will most likely provide over 50% of the vote in this election, and it comes along the Charlotte-Winston/Salem-Greensboro-Raleigh-Durham stretch of the state. Urban areas, with populations of black voters and highly-educated, high income voters, will be Obama's key areas.

So who does that leave? Suburban whites, in particular, will continue to play critical roles, as they have in the past. While Clinton will be watching her base on eastern and western parts of the state and Obama will be watching the middle part, all eyes will continue to be on suburban voters as the most likely king-maker of the Tar Heel presidential primary.

One other aspect to watch: how each candidate fairs in the various congressional districts that align with these regions. 38 delegates are to be allocated to presidential contenders based on the primary vote statewide, while 77 district delegates are to be allocated proportionally to presidential contenders based on the caucus and conventions results in each of the State's 13 congressional districts:
CD 1: 6
CD 2: 6
CD 3: 4
CD 4: 9
CD 5: 5
CD 6: 5
CD 7: 6
CD 8: 5
CD 9: 6
CD 10: 5
CD 11: 6
CD 12: 7
CD 13: 7