Thursday, March 5, 2009

Obama's non-gains and low voter turnout

As we posted in November, there were six counties in North Carolina where Barack Obama did more than a point worse than John Kerry's performance in 2004. Other than the fact that they were all border states there was no clear unifying theme to explain why he did worse in those places when he did better than Kerry most everywhere else.

Democracy North Carolina's excellent new county by county analysis of voter turnout and engagement may help to provide another clue. All six of the counties were among the worst in the state for voter turnout. Cherokee County ranked 96th, Columbus County 90th, Richmond County 87th, Graham County 85th, Clay County 79th, and Camden County 65th.

One of Obama's strengths was how much excitement his campaign generated, but if it wasn't enough to get people out to vote in those counties it's perhaps not surprising that they were his weakest compared to Democratic performance in 2004.

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