The black vote in NC: Should Democrats Worry?

On Wednesday, the NYTimes wrote about the democratic party’s most recent attempt to get out the black vote this midterm. In North Carolina, the party has pushed an aggressive and racially charged ad campaign to remind their constituents why voting this election matters so much. While some may view this as a risky move, the NC democrats may need it. The article notes that, for democrats to have any chance this election, the black share of the electorate must increase from 19% (the share in 2010) to 21%.

Is their plan working? The below figure shows the percent early in-person black and nonblack turnout relative to all NC registrants in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The quick answer? Not really. Black early turnout in 2014 is barely higher than black early turnout in 2010 (note the bottom two lines). There are still a few more days of early voting in NC for this trend to shift, but it’s farfetched to believe that a 2% change will occur.

Of course, increasing early turnout may never have been their plan. In 2010, Election Day turnout almost doubled early turnout in NC, so the democrats may expect an influx of black voters on November 4th. Furthermore, there’s no evidence that the ad campaign has backfired, bringing more nonblack voters out to the polls. If the plan can’t help, at least it isn’t hurting.

But for democrats to achieve this goal, they’ll need to add something to their strategy over the next few days. If they really believe that the black turnout needs to increase by two percent, the current data doesn’t bode well.