Welcome to North Carolina, the Nation’s Most Perfectly Balanced Political Battlefield February 26, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 6 2:13 pm Gallup Study based on 178,527 Interviews Here is a startling political finding: North Carolina is closer in partisan identity to Minnesota, Maine and Oregon than it is to Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. That
Welcome to North Carolina, the Nation’s Most Perfectly Balanced Political Battlefield
February 26, 2014 Vol. VII, No. 6 2:13 pm
Gallup Study based on 178,527 Interviews
Here is a startling political finding: North Carolina is closer in partisan identity to Minnesota, Maine and Oregon than it is to Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. That insightful conclusion about our partisan political identity is from the Gallup Daily Tracking service’s analysis of 178,527 U.S. adults from 2013 daily tracking polls.
There are certain questions that Gallup tracks daily by conducting 1,000 interviews of U.S. adults, 365 days a year. The questions deal with public opinion on issues like the economy, the direction of the country, the president’s job approval, the favorability of the political parties, and the number of Americans who consider themselves liberal, moderate and conservative.
By the end of calendar year 2013, the daily survey of 1,000 U.S. adults yielded a grand total of 178,527 respondents representing all demographic groups and political persuasions in all 50 states. The total included 5,801 North Carolinians, a highly reliable sample size for a statewide analysis, as most North Carolina polls use a sample size between 350 and 750 respondents.
North Carolina is Right in the Middle of the States plus D.C.
Here is another startling finding: Gallup’s annualized results of 2013 daily tracking shows that there are 25 states where it is better to be a Republican than North Carolina, and 24 states plus the District of Columbia where it is better to be a Democrat than North Carolina.
The safest place in America for Democrats is the District of Columbia, where 72% of the adults are Democratic/Lean Democratic and 14.3% are Republican/Lean Republican. The next best place in America for Democrats is New York, followed on the Top 10 Most Democratic states by Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, California, Illinois and Delaware.
The safest place in America for Republicans is Wyoming, where 60.1% of adults are Republican/Lean Republican and only 20% are Democratic/Lean Democratic. Joining Wyoming among the Top 10 Most Republican states are Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, Kansas, Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and Oklahoma.
Where is North Carolina ranked on the list of state party leanings?
- North Carolina is right square in the middle of Gallup’s list of state party leanings
- 41.3% of North Carolina adults are Democratic/Lean Democratic; 41.9% are Republican/Lean Republican
- North Carolina is nestled in the middle of the list between Wisconsin and Ohio on the Democratic side; Arizona and Virginia on the Republican side
- North Carolina is closer in partisan identity to Minnesota, Maine and Oregon than Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama
Now you know why it’s so expensive to run for political office in North Carolina. Neither party has a partisan advantage.
Democrats Suffer Major Loss of Solid/Lean States; Republicans Gain
Gallup defines “Solid States” as those where one party has a 10% or greater advantage over the other party. “Leaning States” are those where one party has a 5% to 10% advantage over the other party. An analysis of the partisan trends in the states since 2008 shows a major decline in the number of states that are Solid/Leaning Democratic.
- In 2008, Democrats had 35 Solid/Lean Democratic states; in 2013, there were only 17
- In 2008, Democrats had net + 30 state advantage over Republicans; in 2013, that advantage had plummeted to + 3
- In 2008, Republicans had only 4 Solid States; in 2013 there were 12
Oh, by the way, Gallup defines “Competitive States” as those where the two parties are within 5% of each other. North Carolina, where 41.3% of adults are Democratic/Lean Democratic and 41.9% are Republican/Lean Republican, is among the most competitive states in the nation.
President Obama’s Low Job Approval Driving State Trends
As of today, Wednesday, February 26, 2013, Pres. Obama’s job approval is 43%, with 54% of Americans disapproving. In all of 2013, Pres. Obama’s average job approval was 46.5%. Here is a look at some of the interesting state facts from the 2013 Gallup study:
- Only 15 states + D.C. gave Pres. Obama a job approval score above his 46.5% average
- In North Carolina, Pres. Obama’s average job approval in 2013 was 43%
- North Carolina was the 24th most disapproving of Pres. Obama’s job performance (again, very close to the center of the ranking of all states on Obama’s job approval)
Here are results of recent statewide polls in North Carolina on the president’s job approval:
- On February 24, 2014, a new High Point University poll showed that 42% of North Carolina residents approve of Pres. Barack Obama’s job performance; 51% disapprove
- On February 13, 2014, a Public Policy Polling poll showed that 40% of North Carolina registered voters approved of Pres. Obama’s job performance; 53% disapproved
- On February 3, 2014, a Civitas poll of North Carolina registered voters showed that 45% approved of Pres. Obama’s job performance; 52% disapproved
Is North Carolina Conservative, Moderate or Liberal?
At this point we know that North Carolina is right square in the middle of all states when it comes to partisan leanings, and one place away from being in the middle of all states when it comes to presidential job approval. But, where do we stand on ideology?
Again, Gallup’s year end analysis of its daily tracking polls include the ranking of all states by ideology: conservative, moderate and liberal. Here are key findings from the analysis:
- Nationally, Americans are 36.8% Conservative, 36.6% Moderate and 22.2% Liberal
- North Carolina is 40% Conservative, 35.6% Moderate and 19% Liberal
- North Carolina is the 24th most conservative state, right near the middle
- All Southern states, except Virginia and Florida, are more conservative than NC
The number of Americans who say they are “Moderate” is 36.6%. North Carolina is very close to the national average at 35.6%.
The number of Americans who say they are “Liberal” is 22.2%. North Carolina was fairly close to the national average in 2013 with 19% of our adults stating that they are liberal.
A more recent look at the ideology of our state can be seen in a Civitas survey of North Carolina registered general election voters conducted January 23; 25-26, 2014. Results:
- Conservative 46% (Very Conservative 23%; Somewhat Conservative 23%)
- Moderate 29%
- Liberal 20% (Very Liberal 8%; Somewhat Liberal 12%)
- 5% Don’t Know
Looking only at North Carolina’s 46% who said they are Conservative: 54% said they are Republican; 22% said they are Democratic and 22% said they are Independent/Unaffiliated.
Looking only at North Carolina’s 29% who said they are Moderate: 23% said they are Republican 42% said they are Democrat and 33% said they are Independent/Unaffiliated.
Looking only at North Carolina’s 20% who said they are Liberal: 83% said they are Democrat; 7% say Republican and 10% say Independent/Unaffiliated.
So, are we conservative, moderate or liberal? Are we a Republican red state or a Democratic blue state? My research shows that whether you were talking about party or ideology, North Carolina is a perfectly balanced state.
North Carolina is the most perfectly balanced political battlefield in America.
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Thank You for Reading the John Davis Political Report John N. Davis, Editor