McDowell County is located east of Asheville and is therefore part of the Appalachian Mountain region. The county seat is Marion. The area’s political leanings are strongly conservative, the county has not gone for a Democrat for President since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
1988: R+11 (Strong Republican)
1992: R+12 (Strong Republican)
1996: R+23 (Solid Republican)
2000: R+31 (Solid Republican)
2004: R+30 (Solid Republican)
2008: R+34 (Solid Republican)
2012: R+36 (Solid Republican)
Forecast: Like most mountain counties, McDowell contains a large number of working-class white voters, whose Democratic tendencies have all but vanished with the continued cultural liberalism of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama is particularly disliked among this region’s voters, and his performance here (he won a third of the vote in 2012) probably represents something of a Democratic trough. Another Democratic candidate more attuned to the preferences of working-class whites will probably do better here, but not by much. McDowell has been strongly Republican for some time, and barring a massive shift in the party’s respective platforms, that will not change much.
The county’s growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 6.75%, which was below the national average. Unlike other counties in the mountains, McDowell is not receiving a lot of inmigration from Florida retirees.
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.