North Carolina carried for Mitt Romney, in a Republican pickup, by R+2.04. Nationally the president defeated the ex-Gov. by D+3.84. So, N.C. was 5.88% redder than the country in 2012. In 2008, that spread was 6.93%, because Barack Obama flipped it with a margin of D+0.33 as he beat John McCain nationally by D+7.26. Looking to 2004, that spread was 9.97% because George W. Bush won N.C. by R+12.43 as he beat John Kerry nationally by R+2.46. From 2000, the spread was 13.35% as Bush won N.C. by R+12.83 while Al Gore won the popular vote by D+0.52.
Originally Posted by frankfrank
So, with N.C. there is a trend away from the Republicans.
This means N.C. is now competitive. Had the president won re-election under traditional circumstances, meaning increased popular-vote margin of an additional 3 to 5 points (and, along with it, an electoral-vote score), then N.C. would have been retained by Obama with re-election. (Of course that wasn't the trajectory.)