This week, Carolina Journal columnist John Hood published an opinion piece on the context of North Carolinian politics. Hood explains, while North Carolina is commonly deemed a “moderate” state due to its highly competitive political races and its narrowly margined election results, calling North Carolina moderate is inaccurate:
In the context of American politics, North Carolina is a middle state — which is not the same thing as saying North Carolinians are especially moderate. It simply means that our Democratic and Republican coalitions are roughly the same size, making our elections highly competitive and difficult to predict.
This is an important distinction because people in North Carolina are not particularly moderate. Hood writes:
Here in North Carolina, we are certainly a middle state along the spectrum of American politics. But we rank 46th in the number of residents who describe themselves as moderate. And we aren’t appreciably different from the nation in the share of poll respondents who identify with neither major party.
North Carolina is, however, roughly equally divided in partisanship. Hood explains:
Across most of these measures, our state occupies the middle position alongside a few other closely matched states such as Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona. These are the places that tend to produce the most competitive races for U.S. Senate and governor. They are in play during presidential campaigns. They often feature spirited contests for down-ballot races and split control of localities among Democratic-leaning major cities and Republican-leaning suburbs, small cities, and rural communities.
… According to Gallup polling, about 41 percent of North Carolinians identify as Democrats or say they lean Democratic. About 42 percent identify with or lean towards the GOP. The remaining indicate no preference.
Only six other states have partisan spreads of zero to one point in either direction.
So, while North Carolina may be a battleground state for politics, its politics are anything but moderate.