North Carolina's Registration and Polling Suggests Democrats Overestimate Their 2020 Chances

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP featured image
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


Over the past week, I have been analyzing registration numbers for several of the battleground states.  Each of them has the little idiosyncrasies that make them a unique story, but North Carolina’s story is extremely interesting in that current polling shows a lead for Biden, despite other data suggesting that a small lead is likely a tie to a 2-3 point lead for Trump.  Thus far, of the polls that I have seen, sampling has been wrong, either in the age groups which they poll (one poll had like 32% of the electorate being 18-24) and/or the ideological spread for voters, with the party distribution being quasi-accurate and then realizing they polled very few solid conservatives and a lot of moderates.

I started by looking at registration statistics for the Tarheel State, which tells a much different story than the Dem-shift that we are hearing in the media.  Currently, Democrats outnumber Republicans in North Carolina, 2,574,523 to 2,171,498, or 35.76% to 30.16%.  While a 5 point lead is significant, the registration story since 2016 is a nightmare for Democrats.  Since 2016, Democrats have lost 3.64% of their share of North Carolina voters, while Republicans have lost just 0.14% or a 3.5 point advantage to Republicans.  Democrats have lost 161,601 voters since 2016, while Republicans have gained 71,947 voters, a 233,548 voter advantage since the last Presidential election, where Trump only won by 173,315. That translates to a 3.43% gain for Republicans since 2016 and a 5.91% loss for Democrats.  Since 2010, the Democrats have lost 8.80% of their share of voters and their advantage over Republicans has shrunk from 12.97% to just 5.60%, a lost advantage of 7.38%.  During that same decade, Democrats lost 198,142 voters while Republicans gained, 206,159.  That means of the last decade, 57% of Republican gains, and 81% of Democrat losses came from just the last 4 years.  WOOOOW.

In the lead up to the 2016 election, Trump had an RCP average lead of 0.8%.  Again, one of my favorites, Trafalgar stuck the landing with Trump +5, with a 2.9% margin of error, as the final result of the election was a 3.6% win for Trump. Trump outperformed the RCP average by 2.8% in North Carolina.  The current RCP average shows a 1.9% advantage for Biden, within the number that Trump outperformed the polls in 2016. When factoring for the registration advantage for Republicans in the state since 2016, it makes it rather hard to believe that, short of support for Trump falling off of a cliff amongst Independents, that isn’t the case.  While Independents have shifted slightly to Dems over the course of the last 4 years, a recent North Carolina poll (9/26) still gives Trump a 6 point lead among Independents.  Simply put, if Trump wins a majority of Republicans and a majority/plurality of Independents, it won’t matter how Democrats vote, as Dems couldn’t amass the support for Biden anywhere else.  Add to that there are an alleged (I say “alleged” because I don’t believe anyone is truly “undecided” at this point) 9 percent of Independents that have not made up their mind.  Likely, and as has been explained numerous times at RedState, those are “shy” Trump voters, who don’t answer the question in order to avoid potential conflict and/or scrutiny from the pollsters, even though there wouldn’t be any.  In October 2016, the same poll had just 1% “unsure” Independent voters.  Granted, at the same time, Trump had a 19 point lead over Clinton amongst Independents, this same poll showed Clinton winning by 3, despite Trump’s eventual win by 3.6%.

Turn-out for North Carolina for 2016, also favored Republicans by 8 points, 75 to 68, with Independent turn out trailing Dems by another 5 points.  In every election since 2004, Republicans have beat Democrats in the state in turn out.  If Republicans and Independents follow their 2016 turn-out, and current polling numbers remain the same, Republicans win North Carolina by a point.

Coupled with the massive Registration advantage for Republicans, suggesting a shift in the electorate to the right, and the current polling numbers showing Biden’s lead within Trump’s 2.8% polling skew from 2016, I believe North Carolina goes to Trump.




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