Could North Carolina flip blue in 2024?

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For the last three presidential election cycles, North Carolina, a red-leaning state, has favoured the Republican presidential candidate. But a January analysis by Moody’s Analytics suggests it could flip in 2024.

It projects that the assumed Democratic nominee President Joe Biden will flip North Carolina in Democrats’ favour by less than a percentage point.

It’s no secret that North Carolina’s red has appeared more purple in recent years. Mr Trump barely secured the state in 2020, winning by a margin of 1.3 per cent. Republicans only narrowly won a Senate seat in the 2022 midterms by 3.2 per cent.

Republicans currently have control over the legislature but the governor is a Democrat. With an electorate that is almost completely split between the two parties, neither one can afford to lose any votes.

Increasingly, it’s looking like the state will favour Democrats in the future. North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing populations in the country, with most people moving toward urban counties. Moody’s attributes that population boom to its shifting electorate.

“Population growth in the state has been among the strongest nationally since the last election due to a large influx of immigrants and residents from other states prompted by the pandemic and remote work… Since the immigration debate will likely be at the forefront of 2024’s presidential race and given the recent conservative drift of the Hispanic vote, the results in these key states will likely be very close,” according to Moody’s analysis.

Recent Moody’s Analytics shows Joe Biden narrowly flipping North Carolina in 2024 (Moody’s Analytics / The Independent)
Recent Moody’s Analytics shows Joe Biden narrowly flipping North Carolina in 2024 (Moody’s Analytics / The Independent)

For months now, Democrats have been eyeing North Carolina as a potential flip state. Last year, North Carolina Representative Wiley Nickel urged Mr Biden to invest more time in getting the vote out in his state, according to NPR.

“It is now or never for us,” Anderson Clayton, the state’s Democratic Party Chair, told The Independent. “We either have it happen in 2024 or we go to sleep for ten years, honestly, because if we lose this Supreme Court seat this year, we’ve got no chance to take back the courts in 2028, which means we’re under gerrymandered maps for the next ten years in North Carolina.”

Part of Ms Clayton’s job is to encourage voters – especially young ones – to get out and cast their ballots. The youngest voting bloc helped elect Mr Biden nationwide in 2020 and Ms Clayton feels that the voting group may be able to do the same in North Carolina.

For Republicans, the possibility of the state flipping is very much on their radar.

“We’ve all kind of been worried about it flipping,” Emily Stack, the Chair of the North Carolina Federation of Young Republicans, said.

“We’ve known we’re kind of shifting into the purple area...We have a good ground game and are actually reaching out to people and making sure they’re registered to vote”, Ms Stack added.

In 2020, 60 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds in North Carolina voted – a majority of whom voted for Mr Biden. Given the margin that Mr Trump won by four years ago, increasing youth voter turnout in 2024 will be a top priority for both sides.