Analysts are digging through the numbers from last night’s special election contest in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race. Although the GOP candidate ultimately won the contest, some are saying the outcome might be a bellwether that favors Democrats.
Dan Bishop, the Republican, defeated Dan McCready, the Democrat, in the race on Tuesday evening. The margin was somewhat slim: Bishop only beat his opponent by about 2 percentage points.
While “a win is a win,” and Democrats in that area have expressed disappointment, analysis of the race, particularly on who picked up voters where, demonstrates that Republicans, including President Donald Trump, might want to adjust their strategies come 2020.
“Republicans should feel relieved they avoided a loss, but here’s why Bishop’s 2% win isn’t encouraging: There are 35 GOP-held House seats [that are] less Republican” than his are, David Wasserman from the Cook Political Report noted.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) September 11, 2019
NBC News’ political reporter Jonathan Allen also suggested that the win for Republicans on Tuesday should serve as a wake-up call for the president’s re-election chances in 2020.
“Tuesday night’s election was just one of 435 House races, run in the vacuum of a special election in an off-year between midterms and the next presidential contest,” Allen conceded. “But it serves as another data point…that suggests [Trump] has a lot of work to do to reclaim voters and political turf he’s lost since 2016.”
Indeed, there appears to be a shift when it comes to suburban voters in the United States in general. In 2016, Trump won suburbanites, according to exit polling from CNN, by a margin of 49 percent (to Hillary Clinton’s 45 percent).
That changed in 2018’s midterm contests, when the suburban vote was an even split between the parties, at 49 percent each for Democratic and Republican candidates across the nation.
As the New York Times reported, McCready, who lost a disputed election in the 2018 midterm, gained more votes from suburban areas this time around.
It’d be unwise to transpose his results on Tuesday to the nation as a whole. But a 10-point shift toward the Democratic candidate in what once was a hard-right district is equally hard to brush aside. Will suburbanites continue to abandon the GOP? Or will things change within a year, which is a lifetime in American politics? Only time will tell…