Good News: Barack Obama will find NC much more challenging in 2012

The Politico has an interesting story up today on the uphill challenges Barack Obama will face in the (new) swing state of North Carolina that he did not face in 2008 (hat tip):

North Carolina represented the high-water mark for the great Obama wave in 2008 — but he’s swimming against the tide there in 2012.

No state better illustrates the challenge Barack Obama faces in trying to consolidate the historic gains of his 2008 campaign at a time when hope, change and optimism have been supplanted by anger, skepticism and disillusionment.

It’s not merely that fewer than 45 percent of state voters approve of the job performance of the president who’s set to land there Tuesday, or that the state’s unemployment rate is pushing double digits. Or that both houses of the state Legislature flipped from blue to red in 2010.

Or even that a former top state Democratic official recently resigned amid accusations he sexually harassed a male staffer.

Obama’s Achilles Tarheel is the general lack of enthusiasm, especially among younger voters, that threatens to reverse his historic win in 2008, depriving him of a key part of his own map and imperiling his party’s tenuous foothold in the upper South.

[…]

Obama will deliver a speech on the iconic UNC Chapel Hill campus Tuesday, part of a three-state swing to pitch rate reductions on student loans. It’s an appeal to a critical bloc of young voters in North Carolina — tens of thousands of them in the state’s Research Triangle.

IOW, he’ll be attempting to – you got it – buy this state’s younger voters, just like he did in 2008.  Why?

But for once, demographics aren’t on Obama’s side. The number of young Democrats registered to vote in the state has shrunk by nearly three times Obama’s victory margin; 40,000 of them have fallen off state voter rolls in the state since 2008, a Tufts University study in December found.

Support amongst black voters in this state may be off as well, for a variety of reasons:

And it’s unclear if African-Americans will be as energized as they were last time. They have been particularly hard hit by the recession. The unemployment rate for African-Americans in North Carolina was nearly double the state average at 18.9 percent in the last quarter of 2012, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. That rate is the seventh highest in the nation.

As the Politico article notes, officials from both parties in this state predict a tight race, but I think if Romney and his campaign can hammer home Obama’s dismal record on the economy – not to mention his warped priorities as President (like putting nationalized healthcare first over the economy), as well as devote a lot of time to laying out his own economic game-plan, which has been vague up to this point, he’ll have a very good chance at turning this economically  hard-hit state red again.  In fact, the liberal Public Policy Polling outfit, which has done the majority of polling on Romney vs. Obama in this state, has never shown Obama ahead of Romney by more than 5 points – and most of the time it’s been no more than 3 points, which I think is the MOE.

I remember the sickening feeling I had in 2008 after finding out that not only had Obama won the presidency, but he had turned this state blue again.  I am going to do my part in hopes of turning this state red again as part of an overall effort to win the WH back for the GOP, and if you’re a North Carolina resident, I hope you’ll join me.

#BlogConCLT How I spent my BlogCon vacation

**Posted by Phineas

Early last Thursday morning (as in 1:40 AM!), I jetted off for the wilds of North Carolina for the third gathering of the Rebel Alliance conservative bloggers, videographers, and policy wonks known as “BlogCon.” This being my first visit to the state and my first face-to-face interaction with my fellow dangerous potential right-wing extremists (1), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought I’d have a good time. In truth, I had a great time, and the entire trip far-surpassed expectations.

I’ll break this into topics.

Effusive Thanks Department:

First of all, many thanks to Freedom Works, the Franklin Center, and the indefatigable Tabitha Hale for the offer of a scholarship that enabled me to go at all. It was absolutely unexpected and out of the blue; I had a marvelous time, learned a lot, and met some great people. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Then come equally heartfelt thanks to my blog-buddy, Sister Toldjah, who’s not only let me play in her yard for nearly two years, but graciously chauffeured me to and from the airport, introduced me to as many people as she could in spite of my shyness, and treated me to some wonderful North Carolina barbecue at R&R. (2) From beginning to end, she made sure I enjoyed my stay in her beautiful state and lovely city. Thanks, ST.

Finally, thanks and praise to the Hilton Charlotte Center City, which provided a comfortable room (all to my own), excellent service, and flawless Wi-Fi. And thank goodness the air-conditioning was adjustable. (Why do they always set it to freezing in hotel rooms?)

The Convention Itself Department:

With about 250 people, the convention was a small one (3), but very active and enthusiastic. All the presentations were held in one ballroom, with panels ranging from deep red meat (Stephen Kruiser’s rousing closing address) to matters of policy (Freedom Works head Matt Kibbe on “public choice theory.”) My favorites were the impressive rough cut from the forthcoming documentary about what’s behind the Occupy movement, narrated by the late Andrew Breitbart; “Data Visualization: Telling the Story,” which sounds incredibly dry but was very interesting as presented by Matthias Shapiro and Alex Lundry; presentations on investigative research and reporting by Lachlan Markey, Trent Seibert, Mandy Nagy, and Brandon Darby; and legal issues in blogging, such as suing and getting sued, presented by Kurt “#caring” Schlichter and James Skyles. Tons of good information.

The whole two days was worth it. You can find the whole agenda here.

The People Department:

Aside from learning handy stuff, one of the main features of a convention such as BlogCon is the chance to meet and network with people you’ve only read online. Quite often, you’d introduce yourself by your real name, but the light of recognition wouldn’t go on until you also mentioned your Twitter handle or blog. Then it was some variant of “Ah-HAH! That’s you? I love your stuff!”

There’s something to be said for being among people like you politically and not having to be careful what you say. Must’ve been how the people of Rohan felt after Wormtongue was kicked out.

In no particular order, I want to note some of the great folks I met. If I’ve left anyone out, it’s not because I didn’t enjoy our encounter, but because this post-con head cold has ravaged my brain.

Regardless, it was a high pleasure and honor to meet: Jimmie Bise, jr.; JKinLosAngeles; Amelia Hamilton; Gay Patriot; JCinQC; Gabriel Malor; Jon Fleischman; Tony Katz; Anthropocon; SteveEgg; Melissa Clouthier; AlwaysOnOffense; ExJon; Jim Geraghty; and Andrew Malcolm.

Disappointment Department:

Not introducing myself to Dana Loesch while we were at the post-con bowling and billiards party. She’s a one-woman conservative war band. Next time. Also, the lack of Ed Morrissey, one of my early blogging role models. The woman who was so rude as to have a loud cell phone conversation in the back of the ballroom during a presentation. Learn some manners! Finally, getting my sinuses and ears all messed up by air travel. Argh.

Sudden Unexpected Thrill Department:

Seeing the news flash on my laptop that Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had been forced into a primary, and then hearing a moment later the whoops of joy from Kristina Ribali and the Freedom Works people in the hall outside the ballroom; they had worked tirelessly to bring this about. It struck me both just how powerful the populist conservative movement can be, and how wired-in we’d become. I think we knew before the major news networks. (For the record, I think it’s time for Hatch to retire or be retired, but I don’t bear him any particular animus.)

Freudian Moment Department:

Late night Saturday night at the hotel bar after the convention closed, seeing a group of hot conservative women smoking cigars. God Bless the South.

Finally:

If you have a strong interest in grassroots conservative politics; if you have a blog, a video site, a podcast, or even just a bunch of post-its; and if you want to meet nice, friendly, and very smart like-minded people, you owe it to yourself to go at least once.

I’m looking forward to next year.

Footnotes:
(1) According to Homeland Security, at least
(2) In the infamous North Carolina BBQ sauce civil war, I tried both the tomato-based and vinegar-based sauces. Call me a fence-sitting centrist, I liked them both. I know, I know… RINO!!
(3) For comparison, I often go to GenCon in Indianapolis, which last year drew over 36,000 people.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)