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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:49 GMT
North Carolina

North Carolina will be an interesting state to watch in the race for the White House.

Key facts
Population: 7,322,870 (ranked 23 among states)
Governor: James B Hunt Jr. (D)
Electoral College votes: 14
Democrats and Republicans have strong blocks of support and there is close balance between the two. The black population is overwhelmingly Democratic as are the urban areas of Piedmont. But the outer districts such as the Fifth and Seventh are Republican.

Like much of the south the state has shifted from Democratic dominance to Republican advantage. It was the Clinton administration's first term opposition to the tobacco industry that was partly responsible for it losing in 1996.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 5 Democrats, 7 Republicans
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
North Carolina has made dramatic economic and cultural progress over the last 10 years. Clustered around the state capital Raleigh, the Research Triangle of the central piedmont has become one of the world's most prominent medical and high-tech research centres. Glaxo Wellcome, Northern Telecom and Rex Healthcare are all major state employers, their brainpower coming from the local universities of Duke, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.

The banking sector is also strong and the USA's largest bank, Bank America, is based in Charlotte. This is not the North Carolina of hog farms and tobacco plantations that the state is most commonly associated with, although tobacco farms still have influence.

Voting record
1996: Dole 49%, Clinton 44%
1992: Bush 43%, Clinton 42%, Perot 14%
1988: Bush 58%, Dukakis 42%
Several sectors have taken on a progressive approach and the result has been improved educational, financial and cultural development. The schools have improved and there is a state-funded symphony orchestra.

But despite being one of the most industrialised of the southern states there are still pockets of southern poverty.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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