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Archive for November 7th, 2012

Random political thoughts and observations

Kind of a strange election in North Carolina and the nation.

• Nationally, the big question is to what degree the pre-election surveys showing Barack Obama ahead were accurate. They were, and Mitt Romney lost. That doesn’t make Nate Silver some sort of stat god, as you could get to those same conclusions, as we’ve previously mentioned, a number of different ways.

• 2012 for Republicans was a lot like 2004 for Democrats: a missed opportunity to beat a weak sitting president. The big problem in both cases was candidate election. Yeah, Mitt Romney was the best of the Republicans that ran for president this year, but he still was far from ideal. I’ve said that if he was a poker hand, he’d be a pair of sixes.

• The GOP didn’t gain and may even lose seats in the U.S. Senate in large part because they failed to recruit quality candidates. So essentially a status quo election nationally, which didn’t really change much of anything.

• Lots of GOP pundits look stupid today, with Karl Rove leading the pack.

• Barack Obama actually did pretty well in North Carolina. He carried the state by 14,000 votes (.3 percentage points) in 2008 when he won nationally 53 percent to 46 percent. This year, he won 50 percent to 48 percent nationally, but lost North Carolina by just under 100,000 votes or 2.2 percentage points. Put another way, North Carolina was about 6.5 percentage points off the national average in 2008, in 2012 that had fallen to 4 or 4.5 percent points.

• At the state level, Pat McCrory was elected governor, but that comes as no great surprise. That was a likely outcome for most of the year, as Bev Perdue effectively defined the race by her actions, including her late decision not to run, inactions, and political choices, leaving Walter Dalton with little chance of winning.

• Pat McCrory didn’t really have coattails at the Council of State level — all the incumbents won, and the margin was pretty much the same for the Democrats as the Republicans. In an open seat, Dan Forest was elected lieutenant governor by a very small margin.

• Pat McCrory actually carried his home county this time. Wasn’t by much, but still…

• The big surprise was the Republicans picking up nine seats in the N.C. House. Now the Republicans in the General Assembly can override McCrory’s veto if they all stick together. Doubt it comes to that, but this matters as Republicans can pass a state constitutional amendment if they want to.

• The gerrymander that the Republicans in N.C.General Assembly put in place was quite effect and netted them three congressional and a number state legislative seats. We’ll see whether changing demographics start to erode those gains over the rest of the decade.

• The Democrats main problem, aside from Bev Perdue, was simply not being use to being the opposition party, and how difficult that makes fundraising.

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