Raleigh – With just four days to go until North Carolina begins mailing out absentee ballots, the News & Observer today published an editorial pointing to demographic changes and growing voter rolls as evidence of why the state could help put Joe Biden over the top in November.
The editorial board notes that four years after Trump narrowly carried the Tar Heel State, “increasing urbanization, more newcomers from outside the South and a rising minority population – point toward a once red, then purple state turning bluer.”
Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Western Carolina University, said “The electorate is different, more suburban and urban, slightly more diverse and more mobile … In a second-term election, people are going to vote on ‘Am I better off than I was four years ago?’ And clearly that’s a tougher question for Donald Trump to answer right now.”
- Since 2016, much has changed. More than 1 million people are newly registered to vote – 61 percent of them younger than 30. The number includes people moving into the state, young people turning 18 and residents registering to vote for the first time.
- Compared to late August 2016, the state’s total of registered voters has climbed by almost 400,000.
- David McLennan, a political science professor who directs the Meredith Poll at Meredith College in Raleigh, expects the presidential race to be typically close in North Carolina, but the electorate will be notably different than it was in 2016. “The most obvious difference is the number of new voters – 1.1 million,” he said. “They are less partisan, they are browner and they are younger.”
- “The electorate is different, more suburban and urban, slightly more diverse and more mobile. And the mood is different,” [Chris] Cooper said. “In a second-term election, people are going to vote on ‘Am I better off than I was four years ago?’ And clearly that’s a tougher question for Donald Trump to answer right now.”
- Clinton framed it at her last rally much as Biden did as he accepted his party’s nomination. She said, “We don’t have to accept a dark and divisive vision for America. Tomorrow you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America.” That message went unheeded in 2016, but it could resonate louder in today’s North Carolina.