(WGHP) — Every day, North Carolina welcomes new voters to the roster and processes party changes, shaking up the state’s place in the two-party system.
But if you’re looking for a sign of where the state may be heading in the years to come, the answer isn’t quite so simple.
As of June 25, there are nearly 300,000 more Democrats than Republicans in North Carolina with 2,494,091 total blue voters and 2,209,476 total red voters. The state also has 49,176 Libertarians making up less than 1% of the state’s voter roll.
But, believe it or not, the most common affiliation in the state is no affiliation. There are 2,564,384 unaffiliated voters in the state. That’s about 70,000 more than the Democrats and 355,000 more than the Republicans.
The 12 North Carolina counties with more unaffiliated voters than Democratic or Republican are primarily in the far eastern or western reaches of the state, with the exception of Cabarrus, which is northeast of Mecklenburg County.
The largest predominantly-unaffiliated county is New Hanover County. New Hanover, physically, is one of the smallest counties in the state but has one of the largest populations in large part thanks to the city of Wilmington. The other predominantly-unaffiliated counties are Camden, Perquimans, Polk, Currituck, Transylvania, Dare, Watauga, Haywood, Henderson, Onslow and Cabarrus. There are 47 counties with more Democratic voters than any other party, and 41 with more Republicans than any other party.
With so much of the state unaffiliated—about 35% of North Carolina voters—it can be difficult to perfectly ascertain whether the purple state leans conservative or liberal.
A simple comparison of registered Democrats to Republicans would leave out about one in three voters, and those unaffiliated voters aren't just centrists or undecided voters. Many may be far left or far right and feel that the two parties don't go far enough. They may also be voters who would fit solidly among Democrats or Republicans but prefer to keep their party-leaning private.
All that said, the Democrat-Republican comparison can still help to determine how much of a foothold these national parties have in the Tar Heel State.
In the heat map below, counties that are 1:1 Democrats and Republicans would appear as white. Counties with a larger number of Democrats appear a dark blue, and counties with a larger number of Republicans appear a darker red.
The two parties are 10% or less apart in seven counties. Out of the other 93 counties, 43 lean blue and 50 lean red.
If you are interested in seeing how your county leans, check out the pie charts below. Each county has its own pie chart comparing the top affiliations.