5 things to watch in every state: North Carolina

North Carolina is going to soon replace Ohio as the most important state during Presidential elections.

  1. U.S. Presidential election: This is going to be one of the most important Presidential elections in the country at the state level.  So far, there have been 2.4 million votes cast for early voting in the state.  This is about in line with 2012 early voting but it’s likely to go over 3-3.2 million votes cast in early voting.  North Carolina is important to watch because the North Carolina legislature tried to pass onerous voter restrictions to try to keep African American voters from voting.  The legislature requested specific information to look into data about African American voters to keep them from voting.  Most of the restrictions were ruled unconstitutional as passed with discriminatory intent.  But there is still voter purges happening in the state.  According to Will Cubbison, on Twitter, the voter file records show that most early voters in North Carolina are consistent voters.  Nate Cohn at the Upshot for The New York Times, found that their polls partnered with Siena are closely matching the early vote predictions. If that’s the case, Cohn suggests that North Carolina will go to Hillary Clinton.  The vast majority of polling in the state seems to agree with that. It seems like this state will go to Clinton, if this is accurate, it will be very difficult for Trump to be able to win the presidency.
  2. U.S. Senate election: Because Clinton is likely going to win the state, the Senate race in this state is going to be watched closely.  Noted not sock wearer Senator Richard Burr is running for re-election against Democrat Deborah Ross.  Butt was re-elected in 2010 with 54.8% of the vote in a Republican wave year.  In 2014, for the other Senate seat, Thom Tillis was able to defeat Democratic Senator Kay Hagan by 46,000 votes.  This is one of the closest races that I’ve been looking at.  Burr is leading by 1.8 points according to HuffPost Pollster.  Public Policy Polling (PPP) which is based in North Carolina, in their most recent poll has the race at 1 point for the Republican Burr.  This is likely going to be one of the closest Senate elections in the country on November 8th.
  3. North Carolina gubernatorial election: Conservative favorite Pat McCrory is in for a re-election battle of his life facing Democrat Roy Cooper.  HuffPost Pollster has Cooper leading by 3 points over McCrory.  PPP, in their most recent poll, has Cooper leading McCrory by 2 points.  McCrory is unpopular in part because of his HB2 support but also because of his support for the voter restrictions and Conservative agenda that does not seem to be working in the state.  Because of the importance of this race, the Senate race, and the Presidential election, the Democratic Party is heavily focusing on this state to help flip it blue.
  4. North Carolina Attorney General election: Cooper is the current Attorney General in North Carolina.  He is running for Governor rather than running for re-election.  The Democrat who was nominated to run for Attorney General is Josh Stein to face Republican Buck Newton.  The race seems fairly close.  In the most recent polling from PPP, they have Stein leading the Republican Newton by 5 points although there is 17% of the voters who are undecided.  But I do believe that the Democratic Party is doing more to turn out the votes in this state and will certainly help Stein on November 8th.
  5. North Carolina State Senate District 1: Republicans in the State Legislature have an underwater net favorability because of an unpopular agenda being pushed through.  Republicans still hold the power in the State Senate and State House of Representatives.  This is one district that could flip.  In 2012,Republican Bill Cook defeated Democratic incumbent Stan White by 21 votes.  Romney barely won the state in 2012.  In 2014, Cook won a rematch by about 4,200 votes.  Instead of having a third straight election with the same candidates, White chose not to run.  Brownie Futrell is the Democratic candidate to try to unseat Cook.  If Clinton does well in the state, like I think, it’s possible that Futrell is able to unseat Cook.