Political experts: NC more important in presidential election than ever before

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Last minute presidential campaign visits to eastern North Carolina continue Friday, proving the state’s significance in the overall race.

Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence will visit Greenville Friday for a rally at the Rock Springs Center at 1:30 p.m. This comes after Hillary Clinton rallied supporters in Winterville Thursday.

North Carolina is one in a handful labeled as make or break states in this year’s presidential election.

Political experts say there are lots of reasons for this in NC and other battlegrounds like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

North Carolina has the 10th largest population in the country. As it continues growing, the demographic continues changing.

ECU Political Science Professor Carmine Scavo says in the 90s and early 2000s, campaigns couldn’t do much to influence voters in this state, but that has changed.

“If the economy was good, North Carolina voted democratic. If the economy was bad, North Carolina voted republican. But then starting in 2008 when Obama won North Carolina, we became kind of a swing state. So we got a lot of attention in 2008, a lot of attention in 2012, and even more attention this year. And I suspect this is going to go on. In 2020, we’ll probably get even more attention than we’re getting this year,” Scavo said.

Scavo says the vote in NC depends on African-American and young voter turnout.

“There are more unaffiliated voters than there are democratic voters or republican voters in registered voters. The parties look at that and say ‘gee, if we’re going to win, it’s not enough to turn out our base. We’ve got to appeal to these independent voters and unaffiliated voters,” Scavo said.

Last minute rallying in North Carolina isn’t stopping. Trump is scheduled to be in Wilmington Saturday and Raleigh on Monday, just one day before the election.

Both candidates are calling the state a must win.

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