Michael Bitzer

Political Columnist

Dr. Michael Bitzer is an associate professor of politics and history at Catawba College, where he also serves as the 2011-2012 Swink Professor for Excellence in Classroom Teaching and the chair of the department of history & politics.  A native South Carolinian, he holds graduate degrees in both history and political science from Clemson University and The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Bitzer’s studies have focused on Southern politics, campaigns and elections, and a variety of topics in American politics.

Our political history has seen rare instances where the nation, as a whole, has been consistent in terms of “red” versus “blue” states in our presidential elections.  Yet, since 2000, the fact that regionalism serves as a guiding force in our electoral maps has made the past four presidential elections notable.

The 2012 Election: It’s a New North Carolina

Now that the dust has settled in the and we have all (hopefully) survived the general election, some thoughts on the aftermath of the 2012 election.

First, North Carolina is more like Virginia than South Carolina.

Along with the various congressional races that could help the GOP keep control of the U.S. House, there are many state legislative races in which districts were redrawn to benefit the party in power.

One way to classify these new districts is to use the partisan voting index system developed by Charlie Cook, of the Cook Political Report in Washington, to classify U.S. House seats. 

With a week to go in North Carolina’s early voting, can we see any trends that might lead one to hypothesize that one presidential camp could be leading over the other, or is it a coin-toss still in terms of the numbers?

With the word last week that the Romney campaign was feeling “confident enough about North Carolina … to shift staff out of the state” on the same day as in-person early voting started, it might be wise for them to consider some past history and the first couple of days worth of early voting.

With the word last week that the Romney campaign was feeling “confident enough about North Carolina … to shift staff out of the state” on the same day as in-person early voting started, it might be wise for them to consider some past history and the first couple of days worth of early voting.

With in-person early voting underway in North Carolina, it might be helpful to break down its use in different areas of the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state has eight urban counties and 20 suburban counties that make up eight metropolitan areas. The other 72 counties are classified as rural counties.

Within the eight urban counties, 59 percent of the ballots cast were before Election Day, while suburban and rural counties each had 53 percent of their ballots cast during the early voting period.

We’ve had two debates for the chief executive for both the nation and the state, and while the Democratic candidates came out swinging in both, it was the president who obviously got his mojo back, and the lieutenant governor trying to make anything stick. 

Since the widely-panned performance at the first debate, the need to stem the bleeding by President Obama — particularly among his own party faithful — built up a level of expectations that could have rivaled the level Mitt Romney faced going into the first confrontation.

With all the attention on the presidential and gubernatorial contests in North Carolina, you’d think there’s only one or two shows in town for this year’s election —but there are many other elections that will appear on voters’ ballots this fall.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be covering different races that are trying to command the electorate’s attention.  First, we’ll start with North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts.

In a recent posting at NBC Latino, Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto noted that she during her time in the North Carolina, she came to find a growing and vibrant Hispanic/Latino community.

And in a recent opinion piece, she believes that “the importance of Latinos is just as big in the smaller state of North Carolina” as it is in traditional Latino swing states such as Nevada or Florida.

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