Why Republicans made gains

Jan. 07, 2013 @ 02:17 PM

A recent analysis of who went to the polls in the Nov. 6 general election starkly shows why Republicans made historic gains and Democratic President Barack Obama didn’t carry North Carolina a second time.
An analysis by the nonpartisan group Democracy North Carolina, examining the 4.5 million ballots cast in the state’s general election, shows that registered Republicans showed up at higher rates and in larger numbers than during 2008.
The turnout rate for registered Republicans this past fall was 72.8 percent, up 1.3 percent from the turnout in 2008, which was a strong year for Democrats. The fall general election turnout rate for registered Democrats was 69.9, off 2.1 percent from 2008, according to Democracy North Carolina. The turnout rate also declined for unaffiliated voters to 60.3 percent, off 1.9 percent from 2008.
Republican candidates made gains statewide and locally in the fall general election. Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who grew up in Jamestown, became the first Republican governor in 20 years, while the GOP padded its margins in the N.C. General Assembly. GOP candidates also picked up three of the state’s 13 U.S. House of Representative seats.
Republican candidates in Guilford County seized control of the Board of Commissioners from the Democrats, and Republicans now hold 10 of the 14 state legislative seats in the greater High Point area.
The Democracy North Carolina report shows 62,000 more registered Republicans voted this past fall compared to the 2008 general election, while 53,000 fewer Democrats cast ballots compared to the last presidential election. The 2008 general election was a banner one for Democratic candidates, as they won the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate contest and maintained control of both chambers of the General Assembly.
One reflection of the turnaround in four years is the president’s political fortunes in North Carolina. Though Obama won a second term Nov. 6 against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, North Carolina was the only battleground state he didn’t capture. In 2008, Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry North Carolina since 1976. 
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