It’s hard to ignore the polls lately that show Hillary Clinton with 6 and 10 point leads in North Carolina. Other polls show a much closer race and one even shows Trump leading. But Clinton is doing much better here than one might expect simply from looking at the national polling.
My theory? While the national polling looks similar to 2012, each state has their own peculiarities. In general, Trump is doing much better in the industrial states of the Midwest. White, working-class voters there are going to his campaign in droves. Many of them voted for Obama four years ago because Mitt Romney was seen as too corporate.
Things are different in the more diverse states, like North Carolina. But it’s not diversity that’s driving the difference, but education. While Trump is blowing it out of the water with working-class whites, he’s doing terribly with college educated whites. We have a lot of those in North Carolina, especially in the Research Triangle, and they’re a growing part of the population. They’re the major reason the state has trended Democratic over the last decade.
Trump is getting a really bad reception from this demographic, even those of this group who identify as Republicans and voted for Romney. Take a look at the primary map from March and notice that Trump did terribly in the Research Triangle. Neither McCain nor Romney did particularly well in the Raleigh suburbs but right now Trump would underperform both of them in a growing part of the state. What’s true in Raleigh is also true in Charlotte, Asheville, and the Triad: moderate suburbanites don’t like Trump.
The question for the Republican nominee is whether he can squeeze out enough votes from working class voters in order to offset losses from professionals in the suburbs. Currently, the polls show that the answer is “no”. With other states being more receptive to Trump’s message, our state might just be more than a cherry on top of a Hillary Clinton victory. This just might be her Carolina firewall.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The data shows that people who are more educated and in professional careers tend to vote for the democrat. Indeed, being a woman and possessing a masters degree or higher are among the characteristics most predictive of being a democrat, the Pew Research Center finds.
John, I’m not sure if your planet is Earth or your state is NC. The NCGA is made up the way it is because of gerrymandering. No other reason. http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx
The big trend I see in NC is the NCGA’s attempts to diminish these cities’ voting power by gerrymandering & their local legislative power by state edict. Which has to stop. Vote Blue down the ballot!
What planet is this guy on? “he’s doing terribly with college educated whites. We have a lot of those in North Carolina, especially in the Research Triangle, and they’re a growing part of the population. They’re the major reason the state has trended Democratic over the last decade.” Have you seen the makeup of the legislature recently> Trending Democratic? Get real!
actually that is the benefit of gerrymandering more than anything else. Democrats won the 2 party Congressional vote in 2012 and very narrowly lost it in 2014 but we lost the seats 4 to 9 and then 3 to 10 thanks to gerrymandering. In terms of the legislature we won close to half the vote both times but less than 40% of the seats. If the districts were remotely close to fair the legislature would be very close.
Right, John. This guy is suppose to provide balance to this blog as Mills is a raving liberal. But Wynne must be under wraps not to sound too gung ho for the GOP. He inevitably ignores the statewide elections of 2010, 2012 and 2014 where Republicans dominated state and federal races. Only in ’06 and ’08 did the Democrats do well in NC and that trend has long since been reversed.
And while he is correct that the Democrats are winning the large urban counties like Wake, Guildford, Durham, Buncombe and Mecklinburg, the suburban and exurban counties like Johnston, Union, Cabarrus Rowan, Harnett, Davidson, Randolph, Gaston and Henderson are all trending Republican. And smaller city countries like Catawba, Caldwell, Iredel, Onslow, Alamance, Carteret and Cleveland remain solid Republican.
Trump may well lose NC as he is not a sound candidate and the Libertarians are polling close to double digits. But I wouldn’t bet on it at this point.