15 Electoral Votes 
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Obama  |  Romney  |  Visits

North Carolina was the second closest state in 2008 after Missouri, going to Obama by just 14,177 votes (0.32 percentage points.  Democrats made an early play to keep the state in the blue column in 2012, announcing on Feb. 1, 2011 the choice of Charlotte to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention (1, 2). 

The approval of Constitutional Amendment 1 ("providing that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State") in the May 8, 2012 primary by a 61.04% to 38.96% margin signaled that Obama would have a difficult time keeping the state's 15 electoral votes (+).

In contrast to 2008, when the McCain and the Republicans paid relatively little attention to the state until late in the campaign, Romney and the RNC were fully engaged.  North Carolina was a contested battleground state.  Both campaigns had full staffs in the state and there were plenty of ads, although visits by the principals were not that plentiful, and the state was seen as leaning Republican.  By Oct. 18, the News & Observer reported, "Romney campaign begins moving staff out of NC, confident of victory" (+).  The Obama campaign did not give up, however; both Jill Biden and Michelle Obama made visits in November.

Newspaper Endorsements
The Daily Reflector (Nov. 1, 2012) +

Ashville Citizen-Times (Oct. 20, 2012) +
Charlotte Observer (Oct. 21, 2012) +

Raleigh News & Observer (Oct. 28, 2012) +
Winston-Salem Journal (Oct. 14, 2012) +

2012 was a decidedly Republican year in North Carolina.  Romney-Ryan won with a plurality of 92,004 votes (2.04 percentage points) while Republicans also picked up three congressional seats, the governorship, and nine state House seats.