Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Lay of the Political Landscape: NC's 13 Congressional Districts

This is another piece in a series regarding the 'state of the 2020 election' when it comes to the dynamics of North Carolina as we approach the November 3rd General Election. Prior to Election Day, we'll have companion pieces for the NC state house, gubernatorial, and presidential contests in the Old North State. 

In this post, each of us take several of NC's thirteen congressional districts and assess their characteristics for the general election. In most conventional analyses of the U.S. House races, one should not be surprised by a switch from 10 Republican-3 Democratic delegation to an 8-5 Republican-Democratic delegation (thanks to recent redrawing of the district lines and the centering in urban areas of two districts), though two may have the potential for some real interest when the polls close on November 3rd. 

We should note: while we present a lot of demographic and district-based characteristics, we are not attempt a predictive analysis of how these contests will come out; only the fundamentals found within each congressional district as an overview for helping to understand what may happen come November 3. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Two Weeks Out From Election Day, 1 out of 5 North Carolina Voters Have Voted

By Michael Bitzer

North Carolina's first four days of absentee onestop, which is commonly referred to as in-person early voting, have seen record numbers of voters casting ballots. When combined with the exponential amount of absentee by mail ballots returned and accepted, twenty percent of North Carolina's 7.2 million registered voters have already banked their ballots, with two weeks still to go before Election Day.

This post gives several dynamics of the absentee ballots through Sunday, October 18, and then I'll do another blog update on Saturday, October 24, to look at the first full week's worth of data. For daily updates of these numbers, be sure to check out the blog's Twitter account @OldNorthStPol for data threads, or my Twitter account @BowTiePolitics for some analysis of the numbers and trends. 

Through Sunday, October 18, the total number of accepted absentee ballots stands at 1,526,968, with 918,224 coming from absentee onestop (in-person) and 608,744 coming from absentee by mail ballots. 

The following chart shows the tremendous daily growth in comparison to 2016's daily numbers.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lay of the Political Landscape: New NC Voters--What Do We Know About Who Are They?

By Michael Bitzer and Chris Cooper

This is another piece in a series regarding the 'state of the 2020 election' when it comes to the dynamics of North Carolina as we approach the November 3rd General Election. Prior to Election Day, we'll have companion pieces for the state house, congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential contests in the Old North State. 

Given North Carolina's well-established position as a battleground state, it is not surprising that national political commentators are finding reasons to delve into voter registration and voter history trends in the Old North State. Armed with voter registration data that are available to anyone with a keyboard and a decent wi-fi connection, commentators and analysts are able to make conclusions about the size, shape, and scope of various constituencies within North Carolina's electorate. 

Given the relevance of these data to answer all sorts of critical question, the disparate results that some of these various analyses reveal, and our own penchant for working with these data for many years, we thought we'd take the opportunity to share snapshot at new registered voters in North Carolina--a question that should be relevant to anyone who wants to understand whether and how the Old North State is changing.

Friday, October 16, 2020

NC's First Day of Absentee In-Person Vote Breaks The Record

By Michael Bitzer

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is 'expect the unexpected.'

As we have seen across the nation, but especially in states like Georgia and Texas, early voting (in-person) has exceeded all expectations and has, in fact, been very unexpected in terms of the numbers. 

And North Carolina, in its first day of in-person early voting yesterday, didn't disappoint.

In fact, with 333,134 accepted absentee onestop (the official term for in-person early voting) recorded on October 15, North Carolina surpassed the past three presidential election years numbers for the most one-day early votes cast ever. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

A Month Out from the Deadline, Some Observations on NC's Exponential Absentee by Mail Ballots

By Michael Bitzer

To say that the four of us (Chris Cooper, Whitney Ross Manzo, Susan Roberts, and myself) have been a wee-bit busy over the past few weeks would be a serious understatement. Personally, it has felt like the last week and throes of October's heated campaign, but it's only the end of September. And thus, it's 2020.

But with North Carolina now a month out from the deadline for requesting an absentee by mail ballot (Oct. 27), it's probably a good time to take a step back and look at some trends within the data. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Southern Path to the White House

by Charles S. Bullock, III

In media reviews of the prospects for a change in White House occupancy, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin occupy center stage.  Had Donald Trump not knocked these states out of the Blue Wall, he would be firing reality show contestants rather than cabinet members.  Trump won the three states by a combined total of less than show up in most SEC stadiums for football games in non-COVID years.  If Trump loses these states in 2020, it is unlikely that he will win reelection and, accordingly, Trump and his surrogates are campaigning there. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Lay of the Political Landscape: One For The Books: The Hagan – Tillis 2014 Senate Race

By Susan Roberts

Going into 2020, we are awaiting the outcome of the Trump-Biden showdown, but we need to remind ourselves that every single House and Senate race has its own story to tell.  Following last night's first debate between incumbent Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, here is a brief case study of 2014 race between then Democratic Incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and Republican challenger and Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives Thom Tillis. If you skip the rest of the article, here are three takeaways that capture the tenor and substance of this race:

  • One, the wave giveth, and the wave taketh away. 
  • Two, follow the money. 
  • Three, you can call North Carolina a battleground state or a swing state or a purple state, just call it competitive and critical.

My focus here is on the Hagan-Tillis race, but I can’t resist the temptation to begin with a few preliminary similarities between the 2014 and current 2020 North Carolina Senate races. Of course, I am speaking as if 2020 is over, but I think these distinctions will remain. Both elections were labelled “toss-ups” by Larry Sabato of Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report. Both campaigns could capitalize on high presidential disapproval by tethering the incumbent, Hagan to Obama and Tillis to Trump. Both 2014 and 2020 were held during voting law confusion. And sadly, both campaigns were dealing with global health emergencies, Ebola in 2014 and Coronavirus in 2020. 

Monday, September 14, 2020