The Associated Press declared that President-elect Obama had won North Carolina,
after canvassing counties and determining that there were not enough outstanding provisional ballots to close John McCain’s 13,693-vote deficit.
The southern state has not chosen a Democrat since Jimmy Carter won in 1976.
North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes brings Obama’s total to 364 — nearly 100 more than necessary to win the White House. Missouri is the only state that remains too close to call.
North Carolina is seen as an especially meaningful victory for the first African American candidate, as black people were systematically denied even the opportunity to vote, much less run for president, just 50 years ago in the region.
“His making inroads in the South was important symbolically and historically, and also important in terms of his governance,” Ferrel Guillory, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina, told the New York Times. “It’s important that the nation’s first black president has support in states that within my lifetime practiced legal segregation, and that he won support in these states, not only among black Americans but among a strong plurality of white Americans.”
Analysts attributed his victories in the South to an effective ground operation, an increased participation rate of black voters and a steady increase in new residents and younger, educated workers.
Exit polls showed the economy played a key role for voters in the state — with 60 percent of those casting ballots considering it the top issue, with those voters breaking slightly to Obama.