Monday, January 27, 2020

Analysis of North Carolina State House Districts

With the upcoming North Carolina primary elections on March 3, and with the state legislative and congressional district maps finalized for the 2020 election, here's a look at the North Carolina House of Representatives districts for where things stand at the beginning of the year, and the possible classifications for each district come November.

My approach to classifying districts is based on their partisan behavior, meaning the categories use a combination of factors: presidential results within the district; voter registration percentages (party registration and racial demographics) from the January 11, 2020 registration file from the North Carolina State Board of Elections; and the district's 'regionalism,' namely the percentage of registered voters in center cities (urban counties), outside of the center city but still inside an urban county, a surrounding suburban county, or a rural county.

First, to give a sense of how the four regions performed as a whole in the 2016 presidential election, this chart gives the four regions and their state-wide performances:


Thursday, January 9, 2020

NC Voters Since 2016: Younger, More Diverse, Much More Unaffiliated

With the prior post regarding the end of the 2019 year analysis of North Carolina registered voters, I decided to look at the new voters who registered since the last presidential election in 2016 to see what kind of patterns we might see since the last presidential battle in the Old North State.

Since 2016, over 1.3 million new voters have registered in North Carolina (20 percent of the current 6.8 million active/inactive/temporary registered voters), with unaffiliated status claiming 43 percent of these new voters, Democrats claiming 30 percent of the new registrants, and Republicans taking 26 percent. All other party registrations--Libertarian, Green, and Constitution--totaled one percent.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review of NC's Registered Voters

With the end of 2019 comes a status report of where North Carolina stands in terms of voter registration and the patterns that we have seen over the past year, based on data from the NC State Board of Elections.

With the January 5, 2019 count of registered voters (active, inactive, and temporary status) compared to the December 28 count, North Carolina's voter pool saw a net increase of 273,238 voters, or four percent, at the end of 2019. Of the state's one hundred counties, all but two saw net increases in their voter rolls: Montgomery and Yancey counties saw declines in their total voters.

As expected, the major urban counties saw their numbers increase the most: Mecklenburg (home to Charlotte) saw a net increase of 34,314; Wake (with Raleigh), a net increase of 32,703; Guilford (with Greensboro), a net increase of 11,329; and Cumberland (with Fayetteville), a net increase of 10,301.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Are NC "Suburbs" Trending Like National Suburbs?

With the analysis settling on the 2019 odd-year elections, the national narrative appears to be focused on the suburban swings against the GOP and towards the Democrats. And in the 2019 general election in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District, the 'swing' seemed to be more dichotomous in the 'suburbs.' More on that later.

First, an assumption: it is popularly imagined about the differences between 'urban' versus 'rural' areas of our nation and state. For example, an urban county contains a densely-populated central city (Mecklenburg County with Charlotte, Wake County with Raleigh), while 'rural' designates an area beyond a metropolitan area of the urban and surrounding suburbs, typically with low population density. Those are easily envisioned in their characteristics, and even more so nowadays in their 'political behavior.'

It's when you get into the 'suburbs' that popular conceptions of that type of region come into some potential differences. In my analyses, I rely on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's 2017's classification of metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs. These MSAs designated a central city, surrounded by counties that are connected with the central city (surrounding suburban counties). Then, whatever counties are left, are considered 'rural' (and yes, there are micropolitan statistical areas, but I leave that for future analyses).

Thursday, October 31, 2019

How Important is the Last Saturday of Early Voting in NC?

With the recent bill in the North Carolina General Assembly making changes to the 'absentee by mail' process of voting in North Carolina, a provision was inserted that garnered bi-partisan support to include the last Saturday before Election Day as an 'early voting' day. The provision was likely in response to a lawsuit, filed by national and state Democrats, seeking to have the last Saturday included in the state's early voting period. The Saturday before Election Day had typically been the last day of early voting in the state.

In looking at the past four general elections (2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018), the early voting period saw the largest percentages of votes being cast by "absentee onestop," otherwise known as 'absentee in-person'; the other method of 'early voting' in North Carolina is absentee by mail. But how great a role has the last Saturday of in-person early voting played in these past elections, and in particular, what kind of impact has black/African American voters had in utilizing this form of convenience voting?

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.