Should Obama Hope North
Will Change? Carolina
In this season of political polls many other indicators of voters’ sentiment -- recent elections for example --are frequently overlooked by pundits.
is a case in point. North Carolina
There ill winds blow for President Obama as North Carolina continues to define itself as a center-right state where voters are strongly motivated by social and economic issues. A dive into the election data of the past four years reveals little hope for the president
Though Obama pulled North Carolina from the Republican presidential fold in 2008 he did so with a plurality of only 14,177 votes, an edge of less than one half of one percent. Libertarian candidate Bob Barr received 25,722 votes, and the total write-in vote almost equaled Obama’s winning margin. The race was McCain’s to lose, and lose it he did.
had a strong connection with the state’s conservatives who were his natural
base. When North Carolina Republicans ran media ads depicting the rants of
Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor of many years, McCain publicly discouraged the
continuation of the effort. Arizona
That same year Elizabeth Dole lost her Senate seat as the result of a weak campaign. The Democratic tide flowed down the ballot with the election of a Democratic governor.
North Carolina Republicans were not deterred by the 2008 outcome, and real change was in their future.
Republicans assumed control of both houses of their General Assembly in 2010 for the first time in almost a century and a half. This placed the GOP in control of the re-districting mandated by the 2012 Census, and energized conservatives.
By May of this year the presidential selections were all but fixed in stone, but the primaries gave
North Carolinians an
opportunity to show what was important to them.
Republicans had sponsored a ballot referendum on a constitutional amendment which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. This aroused great opposition from supporters of gay marriage. This opposition in turn increased concern among social conservatives as to the outcome.
The outcome? The amendment passed by 61 percent, but most significant was the fact that 99 per cent of voters participating in the primary cast a vote on the issue – 10 percent more than voters in the presidential primaries.
The day after the passage of the amendment President Obama changed his position on same sex marriage. He became a supporter. His flip-flop not only went against the will of
voters, but ignored a 21 percent “No Preference” vote in their Democratic
presidential primary. (“No Preference” received 5 percent in the GOP race.) North Carolina
The state’s incumbent Democrat governor, Bev Perdue, who rode Obama’s coattails in 2008, realized the trends some time ago as she declined a re-match with former
Meanwhile, on the economic front more bad news arrived. A recent report on July employment data put
unemployment at 9.6 percent, the fifth highest in the nation. North Carolina
Obama has no realistic hope that the trends of 2012 can change and produce the outcome he savored in 2008. A supposed purpose for Obama’s selection of
as the site of his re-nomination was the renewal of his lock on ’s 15
electoral votes – a prize that could make a difference between victory and
defeat. His reach has exceeded his grasp. North Carolina