Is North Carolina really a swing state?

I attended a presentation yesterday in Raleigh given by David Simas, Director of opinion research for the Obama campaign, at which David laid out the Obama campaign’s understanding of the electorate 45 days from election day (in North Carolina and otherwise). The detailed presentation was fascinating, especially the way in which the Obama campaign integrates qualitative focus groups/interviews with more traditional polling information to target advertising and other resources.

Simas claimed that the Obama campaign’s internal polling in North Carolina over 20-odd polls has always shown the President and Gov. Romney to be within 1 or 2 points of one another, with the lead shifting back and forth. He predicted North Carolina would be very close again (~14,000 vote margin out of 4.2 Million cast in 2008).  Simas said the Obama campaign is committed to North Carolina until the end of the campaign (they now have 54 field offices in the state) and concurred with the general sentiment that without North Carolina, Gov. Romney has no plausible path to victory, but that the President has many electoral college paths to victory at this point.

The most telling bit of data that suggests North Carolina is truly a swing state in 2012? David Simas could only be one place on Saturday morning, and he was in North Carolina.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

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