The 411 on NC’s status as a swing state

NC is among a handful of states that experts consider to be swing states.


NC is one of a handful of states that political pundits consider to be swing states.

Photo by @andredphotography

It’s something we hear mentioned regularly in politics, especially when there’s a presidential or midterm election: North Carolina is a swing state.

Indeed, for the 2022 midterm election, NC is predicted to be a top swing state. But what exactly does that mean?

Simply put, a swing state is one where the two major political parties (aka Democrat or Republican) have similar levels of support among voters and which could be won by either party’s candidate. Swing states can swing back + forth between candidates, and they are also often referred to as battleground states, which are typically competitively targeted by candidates with advertising, campaign visits, and the like.

While we think that the Tarheel State has always been the best state, it hasn’t always been a swing state. In fact, North Carolina was a Democratic stronghold for years, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

In this century, Democrats have held the governor’s office here for all but four years, and until 2010, Democrats controlled the legislature and drew the state’s maps.

Within the last 10 to 15 years, the number of Democrats in the state has gone down, and the number of independents has increased. The result is roughly the same amount of Democratic, Republican + Independent voters, increasing the likelihood of a split ticket. Additionally, the state has grown rapidly over the last two decades, adding high numbers of high-tech and finance jobs and becoming more racially + ethnically diverse, all of which affects voter turnout.

This November, North Carolinians will cast their votes in statewide races for the US Senate and state Supreme Court, and — in some districts — send new representatives to the US House. We hope everyone exercises their right to vote, regardless of which candidate or party they support.

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