Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after speaking at a rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after speaking at a rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. AP Photo - Andrew Harnik

Vital swing state North Carolina looking gloomy for Clinton

THE swing state of North Carolina is a key state for the Democrats. If Hillary Clinton bags the state, Donald Trump would have to secure every other swing state to win the election.

Less than two weeks ago, a New York Times poll had Ms Clinton leading by seven points, and the CNN poll had her four points ahead.

Yet early voting data has shown the state is still in fragile territory. A CNN analysis found that Ms Clinton has underperformed president Obama's 2012 performance in the state and Mr Trump has outpaced Mitt Romney.

But an early lead does not guarantee success in the Tar Heel state. In 2012, Mr Obama had an early lead but was beaten by Mr Romney on election day.

If the current election follows a similar pattern to that of four years ago, Mr Trump could win the swing state.

The one curve ball so far is the high number of independents who have come out to cast their ballots. Around 810,000 independents have voted, up by 42 per cent since the last presidential election.

Four years ago, independents cast their ballot for more traditional Republican Mr Romney. The former candidate has been a vocal critic of the current Republican nominee, labelling himself a "phony" and a "fraud".

While votes for Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson have gone up - expected to reach 5 per cent - the number of African Americans and college students coming out to vote has been on the decline.

One third of Democrats aged between 22 and 29 who voted last time failed to show up in 2016, compared to three-quarters of twenty-something Republicans who did turn up.

Only 82 per cent of the black vote turned up at the polls compared to 2012, as reported by the New York Times.

Data from insightus has shown that black people are turning out to vote at 91 per cent in the counties where voting is "unimpaired", and in the 17 counties where voting rights are "impaired", voting goes down to 72 per cent turn out.

A federal judge ruled in favour last week of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ordering 4,500 names to be restored to the voting rolls in three North Carolina counties after they were canceled because mass mailings to the addresses had been "undeliverable".



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