Sunday, August 31, 2008

Changing demographics have North Carolina trending blue: a new kind of Democrat

PPP has released a new report comparing the voting preferences of native North Carolinians to non-native North Carolinians. I am posting the report on the blog in four posts- this is post two. You can read the whole report here.

Somewhat counter intuitively, especially to those who are not students of North Carolina politics, the new residents who are much more likely to vote Democratic are also much less likely to identify themselves with the Democratic Party. The partisan breakdown of native North Carolinians is 56% Democrats, 34% Republicans, and 10% Independents. For the migrants it’s 44% Democrats, 37% Republicans, and 19% Independents. There’s not a statistically significant difference in the percentage of folks who identify as Republicans in each group, but there is a meaningful difference from Democrats to Independents between the older and newer citizens of the state.

Why are these folks turning the state blue if they’re less Democratic than the folks they’re replacing? These Democrats actually vote Democratic. There’s a long tradition in North Carolina politics of registered Democrats voting Republican, especially in federal races. Here are the numbers:


Native Democrats

Non-Native Democrats


Barack Obama 65-24

Barack Obama 77-11


Kay Hagan 60-21

Kay Hagan 80-9


Bev Perdue 63-20

Bev Perdue 75-10

Non-native Democrats support Barack Obama for President at a 25% greater clip than those Democrats who were born here. In the Senate race the difference is even more staggering, with Kay Hagan performing 32% better with the newer residents to the state. Even though the non-Democratic voting of registered Democrats has been less of an issue with races for state office than federal office, even Perdue does 22 points better with the non-natives.

The differences between native and non-native Democrats are even more significant when you break it down just among white voters:


Native White Democrats

Non-Native White Democrats


Barack Obama 45-41

Barack Obama 73-15


Kay Hagan 59-30

Kay Hagan 85-10


Bev Perdue 50-32

Bev Perdue 76-14

Barack Obama does not even command a majority of votes from white Democrats who were born in North Carolina. On average he, Perdue, and Hagan perform 44 points better with white Democrats who have moved in than the natives.

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