This post serves as a comparison to a previous blurb about how the two bellwether counties of Wake and Watauga in North Carolina fared in the election. Short answer: they didn’t do anything to help predict the state’s red tint this election.
Previously mentioned in the past, I said that Wake county’s turnout would serve as a predictor of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump won the state. I said if the turnout was lower for the Democratic nominee then the Republican had a better chance of winning statewide.
Donald Trump did win the state by about 5 percentage points, but it wasn’t because of Wake County having a low turnout. In fact, there were more Democrats that voted, as compared to Republicans, in Wake than in previous years. This would suggest on the surface that Hillary would have carried the state.
In 2008, Obama won Wake County by 63,890 votes and this helped to ensure his razor-thin margin of victory in the Tar Heel state. Obama only won Wake County by 54,000 votes in 2012 and then loss the state. This data would suggest that a lower turnout in the most populous county would help sway the state to the Republican.
This presidential cycle was much different however. Hillary Clinton won Wake county by 104,746 votes. The total was 298,353 votes for Clinton (58.4%) and 193,607 for Trump (37.9%). This difference is nearly double the 2012 amount and Hillary still lost the state. Thus suggesting that higher turnout for Trump in different areas was the primary cause of his win here in North Carolina.
The other bellwether, Watauga County, has successfully predicted the winner of the last three presidential elections. This year it did not. Watauga went for Clinton with 48.5 percent to Trump’s 47 percent. This is suggesting potential trends within this county that can only be confirmed with more elections. However, Watauga did correctly predict the winner of the senate race and potentially the governor’s as well (however that one has not been called; more information later).