The Corner

What’s the Matter with North Carolina?

You’ve heard it often: “What’s the matter with Kansas?” Speaking from the left, Thomas Frank wonders why so many social conservatives vote, as he sees it, against their economic interests. Part of the answer is that many of them, as they see it, don’t. The other part is that maybe some of them elevate social issues over pocketbook issues. In other words, maybe it’s not always the economy, and maybe they’re not stupid.

Frank’s question has a conservative twin: What’s the matter with North Carolina? Why do so many social conservatives there vote for the party that opposes social conservatism?

President Obama leads Mitt Romney in statewide polls by several percentage points. Still, by a margin of three to two, the voters of North Carolina yesterday said yes to the traditional definition of marriage — and, in the process, no to the Democratic party generally and no specifically to the Obama campaign, which had issued a statement saying the president opposed Amendment 1. Some counties that voted overwhelmingly for the measure voted overwhelmingly for Obama four years ago. Do they feel the contradiction? From NBC News:

One noteworthy pattern was that some majority black counties which had strongly backed Obama in 2008 just as strongly supported the proposed amendment on Tuesday.

 For example, Hertford County, with a 60 percent black population, voted for Obama with 70 percent in 2008 and on Tuesday 70 percent of its voters backed the constitutional amendment defining marriage.

And Halifax County, with a 53 percent black population, voted for Obama with 64 percent in 2008 and backed the amendment with 68 percent of its votes.

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