In reviewing some figures of the voter registration pool (only active & inactive voters) in North Carolina, I did some 'glances back' at two key points in the data files: first, the differences of where NC voter registration stands now compared to the November 2012 presidential election, along with where the current voter pool stands in comparison to this year's March presidential primary election.
In comparing the NC voter pool to the general election four years ago, there are some pretty significant trends to observe.
In terms of raw numbers, registered Democratic voters have seen the largest decline in affiliation, with a loss of over 200,000 voters claiming the party's registration. Registered Republicans saw a 28,000 plus decline, but the most significant increase was among (not surprising) registered unaffiliated voters, with an increase of over 244,000 voters. If one was to look at the percentage changes, registered Libertarians show a dramatic 49 percent increase, but they went from a little under 20,000 registered voters four years ago to nearly 29,000 voters as of August 20, 2016.
The other considerable change, beyond the fact that the NC registered voter pool is a little over where the pool numbers stood in November (and we still have less than three months to go, so we will see a slightly larger pool), the growth in both 'other' racial groups and especially among Hispanic/Latino voters (going from 113,000 voters in November 2012 to 150,000 voters on August 20, 2016).
In looking at the differences from the March 2016 presidential primary in the state to August 20, all areas of NC registered voters have seen increases, but the notably increases (in raw numbers and percentages) continue to be among registered unaffiliated voters, 'other' racial groups, and Hispanic/Latino voters.
A voter pool of 6.6 million plus is currently where North Carolina stands, and if the ground game operations of both parties kick in with full energy (requiring a fully developed field office and operations), we may see a voter pool of potentially 6.8 to 6.9 million registered voters in the Old North State. Of course, from there, it's a critical link to then get those voters out the pools through GOTV (get out the vote) operations. But you have to have the pool filled before you can dive in and begin the real contest.
Update on 8/21/16 at 4:39 PM: updated information in first sentence to indicate that these are 'active & inactive' voter comparisons. Those not in the voter pool are those with classifications of denied, removed, or temporary.