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  Talk Elections
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  2012 U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  North Carolina's Appalachian Drop-Off
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Author Topic: North Carolina's Appalachian Drop-Off  (Read 1202 times)
ElectionsGuy
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« on: July 03, 2013, 12:01:05 am »

Conservatives have got to love the state of Tennessee right now. It's a well-populated state and very republican at the same time. The best part of the state (for Conservatives) is the Eastern Appalachian Mountains. This part is of the state is not only 65%+R, but well-populated at the same time. But when you go into North Carolina and look at it's Border Counties, you see a huge republican drop-off for certain counties.

Haywood: 55.9% Romney
Madison: 53.4% Romney
Yancey: 55.8% Romney
Watauga: 50.1% Romney

Across the border in Tennessee

Blount: 72.0% Romney
Sevier: 76.7% Romney
Greene: 72.2% Romney
Monroe: 71.8% Romney

And not to mention Ashville. Ashville is a city roughly half the size of Knoxville with about the same demographics, but it's much more democratic.

So why is this? I'm sure there are a few folks from North Carolina that can answer this. Thank You
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barfbag
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 01:14:51 am »

That's interesting. Tennessee has been redder than North Carolina for 3 election cycles both internally and at the presidential level. Could it be that some Democrats have moved from western Tennessee to eastern North Carolina? Both states are still pretty socially conservative and on the right side of the column, but North Carolina has become slightly more liberal in the last decade such as electing Democratic senators. It's an idea that comes to mind but it could be a stretch.
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Ebowed
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 02:41:02 am »

You only have to go back to 2000 to find the regions voting roughly the exact same way (still GOP), with the Republican trend in eastern Tennessee beginning in 2004 with favorite son Al Gore off the ticket (Edwards' impact in North Carolina seems negligible looking at the results).  Another thing to bear in mind is that the Obama campaign devoted considerable resources to North Carolina, and this includes even areas of the state they are not going to win, just to make the statewide total all the more likely to go their way.
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ElectionsGuy
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2013, 03:21:57 am »

You only have to go back to 2000 to find the regions voting roughly the exact same way (still GOP), with the Republican trend in eastern Tennessee beginning in 2004 with favorite son Al Gore off the ticket (Edwards' impact in North Carolina seems negligible looking at the results).  Another thing to bear in mind is that the Obama campaign devoted considerable resources to North Carolina, and this includes even areas of the state they are not going to win, just to make the statewide total all the more likely to go their way.

I do see the same counties voting like this in '00 and '04 so I guess this is just one of the oddities in election politics.
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Miles
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 06:51:42 am »

I'll post this here too:

There was also decent slippage in the central Piedmont and southern coast (Brunswick to Carteret Counties).
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Sol
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 08:34:07 am »

There's several factors at play here. Firstly, there's something of a blue dog tradition in several of the  central Western North Carolina counties, such as Yancey, Madison, Haywood, etc. I believe this may be related to the TN valley authority, although I'm not sure.

Secondly, many counties in WNC have a substantial white liberal population. Asheville is left-wing because it's sort of a hippy-left wing kind of area- a bit like Austin TX or Madison WI, albeit smaller. There are colleges  in Watauga and Jackson counties (ASU and WCU), and smaller hippyish populations in Transylvania and Polk counties.

Finally, Swain and Jackson counties have sizable Native American populations. There is a Cherokee community in that area.
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JacobNC
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 09:27:50 am »
« Edited: July 05, 2013, 09:29:26 am by psychicpanda »

I have a lot of extended family and ancestors that have lived in Yancey County for centuries.  What I know about it is this:

Most of the North Carolina mountain areas are very isolated.  You don't see much migration between counties or between NC and TN.  People used to say my great-grandmother, who lived for ninety-six years, only left Yancey County for travel twice in her life.  Politically, they've voted strongly Democratic going back several generations.  I don't know if that is still the case with all of my family but I know it is the case with many of them.  I would say the biggest clue as to why the NC mountains are less Republican than the TN mountains is this: in my family's cemetery in Yancey County, there are plenty of confederate flags flying over graves of civil war veterans.  Eastern Tennessee was notoriously pro-Union while Western NC was not.
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barfbag
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 08:41:54 pm »

This is very interesting to read. How do you think these conservative Democrats vote at the presidential level?
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ElectionsGuy
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 10:31:59 pm »

Summary:

So more hippy-like left wing groups, more colleges and universities, and native Americans in some cases. Very isolated locations that have kept the democratic tradition there for decades and not aligning with Tennessee in the pro-union fashion that they used to. Thanks psychicpanda and Sol for giving good answers.
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JacobNC
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 11:13:04 pm »

This is very interesting to read. How do you think these conservative Democrats vote at the presidential level?

Obama did not do that much worse than Kerry, Gore, or Clinton in Western NC, unlike the rest of Appalachia.  Madison County was almost 50/50 in 2008 and Madison County is as redneck as it gets.  I think Hillary would manage to actually win some counties in NC's mountains, aside from Buncombe, Watauga and Jackson.

Summary:

So more hippy-like left wing groups, more colleges and universities, and native Americans in some cases. Very isolated locations that have kept the democratic tradition there for decades and not aligning with Tennessee in the pro-union fashion that they used to. Thanks psychicpanda and Sol for giving good answers.

Another possible reason is the influence of the federal government in Western NC.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a HUGE tourist attraction and the only thing supporting the local economy in Swain, Jackson and Haywood Counties.  There's also the Blue Ridge Parkway which lifted much of rural Western NC out of darkness.  Both were created under federal programs by FDR.  Now, you could argue, the TVA helped Eastern Tenn. just as much.  But there's no doubt people in NC's mountains are appreciative that the federal gov't pours money into their region.
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