2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: North Carolina has picked GOP before, but Trump faces a fight

2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: North Carolina has picked GOP before, but Trump faces a fight
North Carolina State Flag (US Public Domain)




March 3, 2020 (Tuesday)

Type: Semi-closed

Democratic delegates: 122 (110 pledged, 12 super)

Republican delegates: 71


Roy Cooper (Democratic)


Richard Burr (Republican) & Tom Tillis (R)

Representatives: 13

Ten Republican: George Holding (2nd district), Gregory Murphy (3rd district), Virginia Foxx (5th district), Mark Walker (6th district), David Rouzer (7th district), Richard Hudson (8th district), Dan Bishop (9th district), Patrick McHenry (10th district), Mark Meadows (11th district), Ted Budd (13th district).

Three Democratic: George "GK" Butterfield Jr (1st district), David Price (4th district), Alma Adams (12th district); 

Electoral college votes: 15

Donald Trump won all in 2016.

How North Carolina has voted in the past

One of the original 13 colonies to enter the Union in 1789, North Carolina did not take part in the 1864 election because of secession. The Tar Heel State was a blue one from 1876 to 1964 and then turned red.

From 1968 to 2016, North Carolina has voted for the GOP candidates 11 out of 13 times. The shift was mostly in response to white conservative voters’ uneasiness with the civil rights legislation passed in the mid-1960s.

The Republicans made full use of the situation with their "southern strategy". After Southerner Jimmy Carter won in 1976, Barack Obama defeated John McCain in North Carolina in 2008 by just 14,000 votes (49.7 percent to 49.4 percent).

In 2012, he lost to Mitt Romney by two percent votes. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by three percentage points. North Carolina might gain one electoral vote after the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are in a tight race ahead of North Carolina Primary on March 3 (Getty Images)

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State is one of the few where politics is polarized between Democrats and Republicans and between urban and suburban areas. North Carolina has become a battleground state over the years with a rise in population from other states.

The state has been bolstered by the presence of both liberal progressivism and religious conservatism. NC has an African-American population that makes up 21 percent of the population which is the seventh highest in the US and the politics of segregation is still visible there.

Race continues to be an intense issue in the state’s moves towards making its voting procedures tighter. The state's politics are influenced by historical partisan patterns. While the settlers in coastal NC tend to vote for the Democrats, the Piedmont settlers are more Republican supporters. 

North Carolina and 2020 presidential elections

North Carolina has seen a close pre-poll race between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden with Michael Bloomberg in a close third.

According to a poll by WRAL-TV and Survey USA which got released last week, the two veterans were tied while another conducted by U-Mass Lowell around the same period showed the Vermont senator leading by four points.

Another poll from Civitas Institute, a group inclined towards the Republican Party, showed a three-way tie between Sanders, Biden and Bloomberg while one from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Biden having a three-point lead. In the 2016 primary, Hillary defeated Sanders in NC by over 13 percentage points. 

On the GOP side, the campaign organization was not as strong in 2016 but after his win over Hillary by 3.67 percent and the party's victories in two special elections (third and ninth districts) last year has boosted its confidence to do well in 2020.

Trump's campaign is more organized now in North Carolina even though his approval rating in the state has slipped over the past many months and he was found to be in the right race with a number of Democratic opponents.

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