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2012 turnout data shows NC sharply split

Posted January 22, 2013

A new analysis of voter turnout data for the November 2012 election proves North Carolina has earned its reputation as a swing state.

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney evenly split the 10 counties with the highest turnout. Beaufort, Davie, Greene, Moore and Person voted for Romney, while Chatham, Granville, Hertford, Wake and Warren voted for Obama. 

The report by Democracy North Carolina looked at data gathered by the State Board of Elections. 

Overall, turnout in 2012 was 68.3 percent – down slightly from 69.6 percent in 2008. Similar declines were apparent through most Democratic subgroups.

Only Republicans posted gains in turnout. Republican women picked up a percentage point, from 72.3 percent in 2008 to 73.4 percent in 2012. GOP men made an even bigger gain, from 70.7 to 72.2 percent.    

Meantime, the number of registered Democrats who voted in 2012 actually dropped by nearly 53,000, even though the party added about 8,800 registered voters since 2008. 

Still, the political subgroup with the highest turnout was African-American Democratic women, at 76.4 percent – down just one-tenth of a percentage point from 2008.

“The presidential election was a polarizing, emotional experience for core supporters of both major candidates,” said Democracy NC director Bob Hall in a release. “Candidates, parties and interest groups invested in mobilizing voters and helped them understand that their vote was important for themselves and for society.”

Predictions that Obama's support for same-sex marriage would depress African-American turnout in North Carolina did not pan out. While turnout among black voters dropped slightly, from 71.9 to 70.3 percent, that's in line with the drop in overall turnout. According to Hall, about 85 percent of black voters in North Carolina are registered Democrats. 

However, predictions that young voters would be less motivated were true. Turnout for voters 18-25 dropped by more than 5 percent from 2008, though it was slightly higher in counties with large universities. 

Hispanic voters also saw a steep drop. Their turnout was 4.9 percent lower than in 2008. 

Senior citizens, on the other hand, picked up 4.2 percent at the polls, with a 2012 turnout of 76.6 percent – the highest of any demographic group.

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  • NYtoNC81 Jan 23, 10:03 a.m.

    moveythemez: The Democrat block consists of a coalition of government workers and educators who will benefit from a government spend platform, public educated youth under the age of 25 who have not completed full mental devlopment and minorities. The Republican block consists of the productive and investment class who pays for the societal costs and also consists of the morally engaged.

    Me: This is degrading and simplistic, but not surprising. Every single demographic study I've seen in the last four presidential elections has shown that the highest educated (those with graduate degrees or higher) have tended to vote more Democratic. Those with high school diplomas tend to vote more Republican.

    People forget the largest demographic who vote for the GOP is the poor to middle class, rural whites. Similarly the largest demographic for the Democrats is poor to middle class, urban citizens.

  • moveythemez Jan 23, 9:27 a.m.

    There are mnay dynamics working in general elections. During a Presidential election year, more voters turnout who do not normally vote in off year elections. They tend to be less engaged voters and less informed. Plus many just pull the lever for President asnd walk out. This is evidenced by Romney barely winning NC but McCrory winning by double digit percentages.

    Further, people vote for the candidate they believe will benefit them the most. The Democrat block consists of a coalition of government workers and educators who will benefit from a government spend platform, public educated youth under the age of 25 who have not completed full mental devlopment and minorities. The Republican block consists of the productive and investment class who pays for the societal costs and also consists of the morally engaged. I do not see a scenario where either block will move over to the other side's point-of-view, so this split in the electorate will continue.

  • bmac813 Jan 23, 8:35 a.m.

    Yes, The Republicans do control the House, But to get anything Passed it has to go through the Senate which is controled by Harry Reid and the Democrats.
    I laugh every time I head Liberals talk or the Liberal News Media write it is always the House's Fault that nothing is getting done. Check and see how many Bill's were sent to the Senate and they stopped there because of Harry Reid.
    dem's know how to play the Game and the are good at it.
    As long as you got 90% of the News Media behind you, You have nothing to worry about, Brcause most people don't know what is going on, IF they did Obama would have never won Re-Election.

  • hp277 Jan 22, 5:55 p.m.

    so one can sum it up fairly easily -- the democrats in nc -- were slaughtered at the polls by the fed up citizens of nc....
    wildpig777

    1 party's candidates (Democrats) got 51% of the votes for Congressional seats in 2012, yet came away with just 4 of 13 seats.

    I'd say Dems got slaughtered at gerrymandering time, not at the polls - at least not in 2012.

  • BW Jan 22, 5:38 p.m.

    golorest -- recheck your math.

    Those making more than $200,000 do indeed make up 26% of the total income, but according to line 111 of the spreadsheet pay 46.5 % of the taxes. The figure you cite is a count field (Line 110).

    Those making less that $75000 are 37.75% of the income, and 19.7% of the taxes. (Line 111 again.)

  • golorealist Jan 22, 4:41 p.m.

    here's some interesting facts (based off of irs statistics available here http://www.irs.gov/file_source/pub/irs-soi/09in53us.xls)

    in 2009 (latest year available) those making over $200K (highest denomination of income in the stats), represented 3% of total returns. their TOTAL income (not agi, but total income) represented 26% of all income reported for the whole country. yet, they only paid 4% of the total tax.

    those making 75K or under represent 80% of all tax returns. they represent 38% of total income. yet, they pay 72% of total tax. in other words, 72% of the total income tax comes from 38% of the total income.

    yep. the wealthy need to be taken care of more.

    who is really paying more than their fair share?

  • golorealist Jan 22, 4:34 p.m.

    "But to deny Obama is a massive spender who has no interest in bringing down the defecit is absurd." statefan99

    but, i never denied that. so, what's your point?

    "If we continue to blame the other for something BOTH played a part in we'll get no where though." - statefan99

    after the back and forth, it's nice to know you agreed with me all along.

  • StateFan99 Jan 22, 4:26 p.m.

    the hyprocrisy lies in the republican parties so-called desire for "smaller government". the republicans do nothing to make goverment smaller. they've added to it plenty, and about as much as anybody else has.

    sorry, but "oh, but we make big government slower than democrats" doesn't qualify as pushing for smaller government.

    I'm not debating that fact because it's true. Which is why I'm neither a Dem or Repub. But to deny Obama is a massive spender who has no interest in bringing down the defecit is absurd. And I know, I know - Congress passes laws - Republicans control the House ext. If we continue to blame the other for something BOTH played a part in we'll get no where though.

  • golorealist Jan 22, 4:21 p.m.

    "Can someone please tell me how this is hypocrital? There are for sure hypocrisies to point out, but these numbers basically speak for themselves." - StateFan99

    sorry, but "oh, but we make big government slower than democrats" doesn't qualify as pushing for smaller government. it makes them hypocritical. they've added to big government about as much as anybody else has.

  • golorealist Jan 22, 4:18 p.m.

    "Can someone please tell me how this is hypocrital? There are for sure hypocrisies to point out, but these numbers basically speak for themselves." - StateFan99

    the hyprocrisy lies in the republican parties so-called desire for "smaller government". the republicans do nothing to make goverment smaller. they've added to it plenty, and about as much as anybody else has.

    sorry, but "oh, but we make big government slower than democrats" doesn't qualify as pushing for smaller government.

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