North Carolina US House Races
Two US House races, NC-01 and NC-02 have caught our eye.
As part of our battleground state research we focused on North Carolina. Specifically, we looked at two US House races that we feel could be very interesting. NC-01 and NC-02.
NC-01 is one of the most geographically large House Districts. The counties that make up NC-01 have a combined land area of 8,655 square miles, almost the same size as the entire state of New Jersey. Geographically spread campaigns can be tricky, as it stretches resources across a wide geographic area, potentially weakening impact across the board. That said there are ways around this. Last time, NC-01 was won by a margin of 8.4% or 29,122 votes. The bulk of this winning margin came from strong Democrat performances in Pitt, Vance, Halifax and Edgecombe counties. This proves that the key is not to win everywhere, but to know where your votes are likely to come from and concentrating there. The revised boundaries of NC-01 have actually boosted the Republicans’ chances.
The redrawn boundaries have resulted in 5 percentage point reduction in the population possessing college degrees. As a general rule, college education is a predictor of voting Democrat, so a reduction in a population that leans Democrat would give the GOP hope. On the one hand, one Democrat-leaning population in NC-01 has declined. On the other, another reliable Democrat demographic in NC-01 has increased; African-Americans. Whilst NC-01’s new boundaries have increased the population of African-Americans, voter turnout tends to be lower when there is not a Presidential election the same day. If the GOP can maximize white and rural voter turnout, they can put themselves in striking distance of victory. Our analysis of the 2020 Presidential Election in NC-01 showed that on the outskirts of Rocky Mount, Wilson and Greenville, the support for the Democrats may not be quite as solid as results may have initially suggested.
Neighboring House District NC-02 is also of interest. NC-02 is much smaller and takes in most of Wake County. The boundary splits the city of Raleigh in two, with NC-02 taking in the northern half of this division. The redrawn boundaries have decreased the non-white population but increased the number of college educated voters (the opposite was true in NC-01). That said NC-02 is not as bullet proof Democrat as one may think. Our analysis of the 2020 Presidential Election in NC-02 showed that whilst the Democrats did well, this support was weaker in the northern parts of Raleigh, especially in the North Hills and Six Forks districts of Raleigh. Morrisville also looks promising.
Both NC-01 and NC-02 will benefit from forces that were not present in 2020. These are the crippling increases in gas prices, inflation on household goods and a supply chain crisis. These forces are so crushing and omnipresent that we would expect even many Democrats to begin to doubt their support for the Democrat Party. They will vote Republican or not vote at all, both of which would suit the GOP fine in both races.
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