Monday, May 05, 2008

A little about North Carolina

Put this down in the "Things I should have said sooner before the news caught up to me" category. I've been wanting to make this post for two or three weeks, but life has been in the way.

I lived in North Carolina from 1984 to 1988. That's old data, I know, but I think some things I observed might still be relevant to the primary tomorrow. North Carolina was then, and still is, a growing state, not so much through indigenous growth, but from move-ins from the northeast and mid-west. The New England mills all moved there in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Those are all gone now, moved overseas. But other industries were sprouting, and many Snow Birds looked to NC as a blend of the winters they knew and the winters they wanted: milder, but still with some snow. In my neighborhood in the city of Asheboro (right in the center of the state), very few people were native North Carolinians. They brought with them Northeastern and Mid-western values and habits.

True, a large group of natives still makes up a core of the state, but electorate is mixed. You probably have as many voters who were born and lived their early years in New York/Pennsylvania/Ohio as who were born in NC. These are not necessarily white-collar workers who came to manage factories. Many are blue-collar people following the jobs.

The thing I don't know is if this trend has continued in the years I've been gone. If so, I think this bodes well for Sen. Clinton. Even if not, I think the make up of the electorate is more favorable to Clinton than in other states in that region, all of which went for Sen. Obama with big margins.

So, I'm not quite ready to predict a Clinton victory. But I will predict that Clinton will outperform compared to most of the polls I've seen. I believe it will be much tighter than the pundits are expecting.

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