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Old 03-07-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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In the 2008 election, I think many of us were surprised to see NC shift from red to blue. What makes NC stand out differently than the rest of the south (excluding FL since it's not very "southern")? I mean, Georgia actually gained more people in the decade so one can't claim that it was "northern transplants", GA actually had more. So what is different about NC? I'm still trying to figure out that one. What caused NC to become more of a swing state instead of a solid red southern state?
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:35 AM
 
Location: BMORE!
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A large number of large to midsized cities full of transplants would be my guess.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KodeBlue View Post
A large number of large to midsized cities full of transplants would be my guess.
Yeah but GA had more "transplants" and still is solid red. There's something more at work there in NC.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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It's wasn't as "red" a state as Georgia to begin with. North Carolina, while always southern, isn't as steeped in the Deep South, moonlight and magnolia traditions as Georgia, SC, Mississippi, Alabama, etc. Some of that dates back to NC's antebellum days, when it didn't develop the same level of plantation culture as other southern states due to the lack of long navigable rivers.

North Carolina has only had two Republican governors in the last century, and even though there's been a realignment in that time, I think it's clear that the Republican party never got as fully ingrained into the political culture there as it has in some of the other southern states.

And yes, there are a large number of transplants, but I also think there's a fairly progressive feel in a number of NC cities that stands apart from the level of transplants. I'd argue that even cities without huge numbers of transplants have a more liberal tilt in NC than comparable cities in GA, SC, MS, AL, etc.

Also, bear in mind that Obama BARELY won NC in 2008, and might not hold it in 2012. It was 49.7% to 49.4%, the second-thinnest margin of any state. GA, by contrast, was 46.9% Obama to 52.1% McCain, so it wasn't exactly a landslide.

So, to answer your question, I don't think there's anything drastic about NC's change or vote choice in 2008.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cBach View Post
Yeah but GA had more "transplants" and still is solid red. There's something more at work there in NC.
Yes, but the vast majority of Georgia's transplants are situated in metro Atlanta and not all of the metro Atlanta counties went blue (most notably Gwinnett and Cobb). NC is much more balanced in terms of the distribution of its urban population throughout the state, with more midsized cities in addition to the rural counties with significant Black populations that typically vote Dem.

Of the five most populous counties in each state, all of them went blue in NC; only three did in GA.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:46 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cBach View Post
Yeah but GA had more "transplants" and still is solid red. There's something more at work there in NC.
Many North Carolina transplants are upper middle class and from the Northeast, particularly New York City. Atlanta attracts a lot of people already in the South.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tpk-nyc View Post
Many North Carolina transplants are upper middle class and from the Northeast, particularly New York City. Atlanta attracts a lot of people already in the South.
I don't think there's much difference between NC and Atlanta in this regard. There are TONS of Northerners here in metro Atlanta and I'm just as likely to run into a native Carolinian transplant in Charlotte than a native Northerner.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
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Also keep in mind that the most notoriously right-wing recent NC politician (Jesse Helms), never won by a landslide. He always got re-elected by razor thin margins, and the level of vehemence among Republicans was well matched by Democrats and Progressives, who have always been a large and loud minority in NC. Not always enough to swing an election, but clearly sometimes.

After the Voting Rights act passed, some of the first Black mayors in the south were elected in NC (in Chapel Hill, in 1966). Since then, some of the first Latino politicians outside of Florida, the fastest growing (and per-capita largest) Asian communities between Houston and Washington (in Cary/Morrisville and the Durham area), and at least 6 openly gay policticans that I can immediately think of, from 4 different cities, all of whom easily won at least one re-election campaign. Western/Appalachian North Carolina has always been very culturally conservative (Boone and Asheville are two VERY strong exceptions to that overall truism), but historically that part of the state was also an isolated hotbed of pro-Union sentiment during the Civil War, and the Underground Railroad ran through that part of the state.

So it, in many ways has always been a state full of contradictions, and as for the recent changes, they have been both rapid, and consistent, indicating that it's a kind of change that sends down roots and becomes, in time part of the state's culture, and therefore it's voting patterns. I forsee a few decades in NC where elections are quite unpredictable because of this, and election results may swing all over the place before finding some sort of new normal.

That noted, NC still is - for the time being - generally conservative. But it's conservative with a genuinely statewide eclectic undercurrent. I don't know if it has to do with having multiple rapidly growing metros scattered around the state (as opposed to one huge metro that sucks in everything except light itself, like Atlanta), or a very strong university system that includes several large research universities which are (again) scattered from one end of the state to the other. Both of those may have something to do with it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
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I don't think there was a shift in NC politics at all. The 2008 election had very unique circumstances. NC is mostly moderate-conservatives. Coming off of Bush's very unpopular presidency, Democrats and moderates were utterly turned off by the Republican Party. As a result, the Democrats came out in much stronger numbers than usual due to not wanting "another Bush" in office. Also, Obama is very charismatic and got the overwhelming support of young and first-time voters. In addition, McCain's campaign was largely overshadowed by the media circus revolving around Sarah Palin, which definitely turned away many people who were on the fence.

Basically, NC was blue in 2008 due to a higher than usual percent of Democrats showing up to the polls and moderates voting Democrat due to the weakness of the Republican campaign and resentment towards the Republican Party due to Bush. For a state like NC that isn't very solidly conservative like Georgia or Texas, it's not all that difficult to turn it blue under the right circumstances.

As circumstances are likely to be much less extreme this election, I think NC will likely vote red again. It would be great if I was wrong though!

Last edited by jayp1188; 03-07-2012 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:55 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
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The news reported of never-before-voting black people who voted. Some were ninety years old and had never voted before. I have no doubt that without the large turnout of black voters, North Carolina would have chosen McCain.
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