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.

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The Party Line
3:53 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Southern Vote Provokes Poli Sci Debate

­­­An interesting discussion has ensued over the role of the South in presidential elections.  Karen Cox, a professor of history at UNC-Charlotte, wrote in the New York Times that “it’s tough being a Southern liberal,” especially to the chagrin of non-Southern liberals in a region that appeared (with the exception of Virginia and Florida) solidly red in this year’s election.

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The Party Line
3:41 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

A Look At North Carolina's Changing Numbers, 2000-2012

Michael Bitzer

In a previous post, I noted that the United States is seeing a pattern of “regionalism” when it comes to presidential elections.  Since 2000, both parties have dominated in two sets of regions, while one region consistently plays the “battleground” status to determining who wins the White House.

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The Party Line
12:14 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Democrats Have Upper Hand In Electoral College Strategy

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.

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The Party Line
11:15 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Expect North Carolina To Remain A Battleground State

Michael Bitzer

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.

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The Party Line
10:41 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Expect Republicans To Keep Control Of General Assembly

Michael Bitzer

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. 

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The Party Line
1:14 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Democrats Continue Early-Voting Advantage, But Don't Assume Too Much

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?

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The Party Line
4:42 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Romney Counting Chickens Before They Hatch?

Michael Bitzer

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.

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The Party Line
4:41 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Romney Counting Chickens Before They Hatch?

Michael Bitzer

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.

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The Party Line
1:27 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Election Day Voting Becoming Passé

Michael Bitzer

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.

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The Party Line
9:58 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Unlike Obama, Dalton Fails To Land A Punch In Debate

Michael Bitzer

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.

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