US 2020- Biden and Trump are eyeing swing state North Carolina

 Trump won North Carolina in 2016 with narrow margin

 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Republican candidate President Trump are eyeing swing state North Carolina. It is among the states that change hands between red and blue after every few years. North Carolina is important battleground states in November 03 presidential election.  Trump won North Carolina by only 3.7% in 2016 and wants to win it again in 2020 race. Democratic nominee Joe Biden hopes to regain the state for the first time since 2008.

North Carolina has 15 electoral votes. These 15 votes become crucial in a tight race.  It is still neck to neck between the top contenders.  Both the candidates spent a combined $32 million on television ads in the state, split evenly, according to data from CMAG/Kantar Media.

The Trump campaign says it has knocked on more than 425,000 doors and called more than 4.7 million voters in North Carolina. The campaign also says it's benefiting from recent voter registration trends, which indicate that the historical Democratic edge in the state is shrinking.

Overall, the level of new voter signups this year has dropped compared to 2016, likely because of the pandemic, according to the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research.

The Biden campaign says it has called more than 3 million North Carolina voters, and recruited 3,400 volunteers and 200 current or former elected officials to mobilize their supporters. Biden is outspending Trump on television, with ads focusing on Trump's response to the coronavirus.

The early polls in the state showing 4% advantage of Joe Biden over Trump. But it is still 9 weeks to go for polling day on November 03.  According to Fox poll released during last week gave Biden a 4-point advantage among likely voters, leading Trump 50% to 46%, within the poll's margin of error. Another poll released Thursday by Monmouth University found no clear leader.

Trump is leading among white voters. Biden has clear lead among black voters.  Black voters has larger share of the electorate in North Carolina than in other battleground states, like the Rust Belt states. In 2016, older voters played important role in Trump’s victory. But this time the situation seems slightly different. Trump is not enjoying the same level of support among white old voters compare to 2016.

The polls showed mixed results in the Senate race -- one gave Democrat Cal Cunningham a lead over Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, while the other showed a statistical tie. The Monmouth Poll found that voters strongly approve of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's response to the pandemic, vaulting him into an 11-point lead over his GOP challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

North Carolina allows "no excuse" absentee voting, which means any registered voter who wants an absentee ballot can get one. So far, more than 618,000 voters requested absentee ballots, far surpassing the approximately 190,000 voters who voted-by-mail in the 2016 election.

The state typically requires two witnesses to sign an absentee ballot, but the state legislature reduced the number to one, to make it easier for people to vote-by-mail during the pandemic.

                                                                       Khalid Bhatti

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