What made Carolina blue? in-migration and the 2008 North Carolina presidential vote

M. V. Hood, Seth C. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In this article, we examine the role that in-migration played in contributing to the 2008 Democratic presidential victory in North Carolina. Prior to Barack Obama, the last time the Tar Heel State was carried by a Democrat was Jimmy Carter in 1976. Since the late 1980s, North Carolina has undergone tremendous demographic change. In addition to a growing Hispanic population that is primarily comprised of noncitizens, the state has witnessed a very large increase in the number of residents who were born and raised in Northern states such as New York. Historically, in much of the postwar South, Northern migrants helped grow the Republican Party. We find that in North Carolina this pattern no longer holds. In contemporary North Carolina, migrants born outside the South are more likely to identify and register as politically unaffiliated, and their growing share of the state's electorate directly contributed to Obama's narrow win.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-302
Number of pages37
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • 2008 presidential election
  • Migration
  • North Carolina
  • Party realignment
  • Political behavior
  • Residential mobility
  • Voting


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