Let's take a look at voter registration trends in NC and results from the 2012 election and see if we can get a sense for where NC is headed..

Here are how the NC voter registrations changed for 2012 (January to November):

Democrat: +137,365
Republican: +96,993
Libertarian: +6,551
Unaffiliated: +185,160

Notice that the "Unaffiliated" or independent voter registrations increased almost as much as both the Republicans and Democrats combined.

And how did those registered voters vote once they got in the voting booth?


Votes for Obama in NC: 2,156,341 (75% of registered Democrats)
Votes for Dalton in NC: 1,913,329 (66% of registered Democrats)
Straight party Democrat votes: 1,403,246 (49% of registered Democrats)
Registered Democrats in NC: 2,871,024

Votes for Romney in NC: 2,252,830 (109% of registered Republicans)
Votes for McCrory in NC: 2,422,294 (118% of registered Republicans)
Straight party Republican votes: 1,099,370 (50% of registered Republicans)
Registered Republicans in NC: 2,052,481

Votes for Johnson in NC: 43,956 (227% of registered Libertarians)
Votes for Howe in NC: 93,460 (483% of registered Libertarians)
Straight party Libertarian votes: 24,772 (127% of registered Libertarians)
Registered Libertarians in NC: 19,335

Total Unaffiliated voters in NC: 1,702,972


So what are some of the takeaways from the 2012 race?

  • Roughly 50% of Republicans and Democrats will vote straight ticket no matter who is on the ballot. Bless their hearts.
  • The Independent voters favored Republican candidates by a wide margin.
  • Turnout for the Democrats was abysmal.
  • Looking at the straight party and Presidential votes cast for the Libertarian party it looks like there are closer to 44,000 of them in North Carolina rather than the 19,335 who were registered in 2012.

2012 was a divisive election for North Carolina, with an unpopular Republican candidate and an incumbent Democrat who had lost the hearts of many in his own party. Since that election the parties have struggled to regain the trust of their base and the voter registrations show that they haven't been very successful.
Here are the voter registration changes for 2016 (January to Oct 8):

  January 2016 October 8 2016 Diff
Democrat 2,631,120 2,689,045 +57,925
Republican 1,960,460 2,044,281 +83,821
Libertarian 27,862 30,310 +2,448
Unaffiliated 1,816,100 2,005,606 +189,506

Notice that the independent voter registration increased more than both the Democrats and Republicans combined.

The voter registration changes since the 2012 election are even more bleak for the two parties:

  Nov 2012 October 8 2016 Diff
Democrat 2,870,693 2,689,045 - 181,648
Republican 2,052,250 2,044,281 - 7,969
Libertarian 19,321 30,310 + 10,989
Unaffiliated 1,706,924 2,005,606 + 298,682

And if we look even further back at the registration changes since Jan 2008 we find that the Democrats and Republicans of NC are both losing not just the battle, but the war of registrations:

  Jan 2008 October 8 2016 Diff
Democrat 2,511,446 2,689,045 +177,599
Republican 1,919,575 2,044,281 +124,706
Libertarian 0 30,310 +30,310
Unaffiliated 1,173,399 2,005,606 +832,207

 

Based on this data can we make a wild stab at the outcome of the 2016 election? Nope. There are too many skeletons coming out of the closet from two of the most disliked Presidential candidates in history to even try.

What we can take away from this data:

  • Any poll on NC elections should be taken with a mountain of salt since almost a third of the voters have abandoned both of the two parties and there's very little to indicate how they will vote in the 2016 election.
  • The odds are very high that the straight ticket voters and party loyalists will have a much smaller effect on the 2016 election in NC than they did in 2012.
  • A North Carolina legislature that protects the two parties with some of the most difficult ballot access laws in the country are not representing the people of North Carolina.
  • Media outlets that only cover the Democrats and Republicans are doing a great disservice to the independent voters of North Carolina who are clearly moving away from the two parties.