The Party Line

The Party Line: Raising the Curtain on Carolina Politics, is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development.  The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

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Politics
12:00 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Voter Registration Trends Different From 2008

Now that the players are set following last week's runoff primary, we can move on to the next stage of the campaign.  And in order to understand the ensuing competition, we need to first survey the lay of the electoral land.

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Politics
12:00 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The Summer Doldrums Go To The Polls

It’s the dog-days of a long, hot summer, and you reach for an ice cold glass of sweet tea — but imagine having only three percent of that tall eight ounces? Think sipping about 1.5 teaspoons will quench your thirst?

Better yet, what about taking a relaxing bath in only three percent of a normal bathtub?  You’d be soaking in only a little over two gallons of water.

Now imagine an election where only three percent of 6.1 million of North Carolina's registered voters participated, and you get the full impact of our summer electoral doldrums.

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Politics
12:00 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Runoff Elections A Snoozer For Most Of Us

For most North Carolinians, this time of the year is a time to focus on summer vacations, hitting the lake for some fishing, pool time, or just trying to stay cool. 

But for a few folks—and I mean a very few—their focus is on securing a spot on the November ballot in next week’s second primary election.

In the American electoral system, many elections are determined by the “first-past-the-post” system of winning. If the top-vote getter receives one more vote than the second-place candidate, the top vote-getter wins. 

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Politics
12:00 am
Mon July 9, 2012

GOP Legislature Hits Walk-Off Homer To Defeat Democrats

Now that the North Carolina General Assembly session has ended, it appears that one thing is clear: The final inning of the session included three strikeouts for the Democrats and Governor Perdue. There were also an error and a couple of switch-hitters, all based on a significant GOP triple play.

The push came at the very end.

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Election 2012
12:00 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Kissell Has Reason To Be Concerned

Word is out that the Black Leadership Caucus in North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District has decided to withhold its support for incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell.

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Politics
12:00 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Health Care Ruling More Like A 4-1-4 Decision

In some of the best-known lines in constitutional law, Chief Justice John Marshall declared that it is…

“emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department [the judicial branch] to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each.”

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Politics
12:00 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Health Care Decision Adds Fuel To Campaigns

I think the Supreme Court’s decision is certainly a legal and policy win for Obama, but it may be a bigger political win for Romney.  The decision is almost certainly going to inflame the Tea Party faction of the GOP, which is determined to repeal this decision, and if Romney can tap into that anger and harness it for November, he would certainly shore up any lingering conservative doubts about his candidacy. 

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Politics
12:00 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Candidates' Spending Spree Could Get Tiresome

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns raked in substantial amounts of money for May. For Obama, it was $60 million, while Romney and the Republicans were able to collect more than $76 million, the first time the GOP had topped the president and the Democrats in fundraising.

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Politics
12:00 am
Thu June 7, 2012

NC An Inelastic Study In Political Science

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In a recent posting on his New York Times blog fivethirtyeight, Nate Silver differentiates between “swing states,” which conventional wisdom has described North Carolina as being, and “elastic states,” which Silver believes is a better descriptor.

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Politics
12:00 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Great Time To Be A Political Stat Nerd

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As a political scientist, I am sort of a “number cruncher” who likes to empirically test what we know about human behavior through statistical analysis.  With the election results certified by the N.C. Secretary of State, I ran some statistical analyses on the county-wide results to see what, if anything, might explain things from the May primary.

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