Haywood County is located in the Appalachian Mountains on the Tennessee border, west of Asheville. The county seat is Waynesville.
Once a Democratic stronghold, the voting preferences of Haywood County residents have shifted to the Republican Party. Haywood was one of two counties in western North Carolina to back Governor Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential race; its neighbor Swain was the other. But times have changed, and the loss of white, working-class voters to the Republican Party has diminished Haywood’s Democratic tendencies. At the presidential level at least, the county can now considered to be solid Republican.
1988: D+7 (Leans Democratic)
1992: D+8 (Leans Democratic)
1996: R+1 (Toss-Up)
2000: R+10 (Strong Republican)
2004: R+10 (Strong Republican)
2008: R+15 (Solid Republican)
2012: R+18 (Solid Republican)
Prognosis: Haywood County posted a 9.26% growth rate from 2000-2010, which is slightly below average. Democrats should not count on performing well in Haywood in the future. Obama is a particularly bad candidate for Appalachia and Democratic prospects should improve once he is off the ballot in 2016, but not substantially. Hillary Clinton could be a viable candidate to win the support of Haywood County residents, but it would still be a long shot. A renewed focus on gun control by national Democrats will only hurt their chances here.
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.