As the early polling began for the 2016 US presidential election, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is off to an early lead in New Hampshire. If she also wins North Carolina, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will have to win every other battleground state to win the election.
The swing state of North Carolina is significant for the Democrats. While Clinton can win the election even without winning the state, Trump's chances of winning the presidency without the crucial 15 votes of the state are bleak. Clinton has other paths to victory without North Carolina, as CNN points out.
It could decide both the presidency and the control of the Senate.
According to a report by The New York Times, both the candidates are tied in the state. The final New York Times Upshot/Siena College survey released on Monday shows them tied at 44 percent. Trump had 39 percent of votes but it has increased since the third Presidential debate.
However, contrary reports have also emerged. The CNN poll of polls has Clinton leading by four points currently. The analysis by CNN suggests that Clinton has under-performed President Barack Obama's performance in 2012 in the Tar Heel State and Trump has outperformed Mitt Romney.
In 2012, even though Obama built an early lead in North Carolina, he was defeated by Romney on Election Day. Chances are, if this election follows the last one, Trump might have an unexpected win in the state, similar to Romney, who has been a harsh critic of the Republican candidate. Romney called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud".
The number of Independents coming out to vote has also increased this year. The Independent reported that around 810,000 Independents have voted this year, up by 42 percent since the last presidential election.
Trump also has the support of 59 percent of white voters, up from 53 percent in the last New York Times report. More than three million people of North Carolina, almost two-third, have already cast their ballot.
Clinton leads among voters who have already cast their ballot by a nine-point margin, 49 percent to 40 percent. However, Trump leads among those yet to vote by 17 points, 52 percent to 35 percent. It remains to be seen which candidate take the state away and inch a step closer to becoming the President of the United States.