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Potential Hillary Clinton bid looks strong early in North Carolina

An early -- repeat, early -- 2016 presidential poll in North Carolina looks good for Democrat Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for the White House.

In a hypothetical matchup against Republican Marco Rubio, another potential candidate, Clinton wins 49 percent to 42 percent with 9 percent undecided, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The Raleigh-based Democratic firm also found that Clinton also bests Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, 52 percent to 40 percent with 8 percent undecided.

The numbers break largely along partisan lines with Clinton holding a slight advantage against independents. The former secretary of state also gets about 55 percent of women against both potential challengers, while men narrowly favor the Republican. The automated PPP poll, taken April 11-14, has a 4 percentage point margin of error.

Convention puts Charlotte at the top of the 2012 fundraising city list

If you needed further proof that the Democratic National Convention was a nonstop party, here it is. The 362 political fundraisers held in Charlotte during those four days drove the city to the No. 2 spot on the Sunlight Foundation's annual ranking of political fundraising cities.

The Tuesday and Wednesday of convention week turned out to be the busiest fundraising days of the entire year, according to the foundation, with 249 political parties between them.

Morning Roundup: 5 reasons why Obama lost N.C.; McCrory's new challenge

President Barack Obama almost ran the table Tuesday night when it came to battleground states. The lone exception: North Carolina.

Of a dozen competitive states, it was the only one that went from Democratic blue in 2008 to Republican red this year. Why didn’t Obama carry the Tar Heel State? Read five reasons here and see a map of results here.

More political headlines:

--Pat McCrory on Thursday will set foot in the Capitol for the first time as governor-elect. A block north, he will see a major challenge facing his administration: the N.C. General Assembly. 

--The 7th Congressional campaign and the lieutenant governor's race are headed to overtime. A recount looms.

Pat McCrory is the only new GOP governor in the country

Pat McCrory is the only new Republican governor elected Tuesday -- winning in counties where President Obama claimed victory but not the one where he grew up.

McCrory acknowledged his outlier win as he thanked his team during a press conference Wednesday. "I think they ran one of the best campaigns ever in North Carolina history and in this nation," he said. "Our campaign strategy worked and it was obviously ... quite unique in the outcome as compared to the rest of the nation."

One thing Nate Silver got wrong: Wake County

One thing Nate Silver got wrong on election night: Wake County.

"Almost all of Mr. Romney’s advantage can be explained by one county, Wake County, in North Carolina’s Research Triangle," wrote Nate Silver, the New York Times' superstar statistician, at 9:59 p.m. Tuesday.

The problem: Silver apparently didn't notice that the Wake County Board of Elections still hadn't posted early voting results hours after the polls closed. 

Morning Roundup: Republicans win big in North Carolina

Election Night revealed major victories for Republicans in North Carolina. Republicans won the presidential, congressional delegation, governor, lieutenant governor, N.C. Supreme Court races -- as well as took a supermajority in the state House and Senate. All together it represents a conservative shift in N.C. politics, writes Rob Christensen.

Here's a wrap on the coverage:

--President Barack Obama wins re-election. Democrats keep U.S. Senate, House remains GOP. The challenge awaiting Obama.

--Mitt Romney won North Carolina. N.C.'s congressional delegation turns deep red. Congressman Mike McIntyre holds narrow edge, recount next. U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers wins easy. Election photo gallery.

Voters take their time to make decisions, split tickets

More anedotes from the polls:

Mike Yocum, an information technology professional in Cary, said he only recently decided to vote for President Barack Obama, like he did in 2008. What swayed his decision was Bill Clinton's speech at Pullen Park in Raleigh on Sunday.

"He mentioned that it takes more than four years to fix the economy, and I think he's right," Yocum said. 

Long lines, dedicated voters on Election Day in North Carolina

Thousands of North Carolina voters rushed to the polls bright and early today, eager to play their part in the final act of the 2012 election.

Most turning out today are traditionalist. They revel in the shared patriotism of joining neighbors at the voting station on the first Tuesday in November.

“It’s exciting to be in the same place, the same day with all your neighbors. You feel like it counts,” said Marshall Green, a Democrat who lives in the Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh.

Don't forget to cast your ballot in the Dome election pool

Election Day is here. So hurry to cast your ballot in the Dome election pool. Test your political prowess and win prizes. First place: a N&O cartoon umbrella and travel coffee mug. Oh -- and bragging rights as the smartest N.C. wonk. 

Click here to enter the Dome 2012 Election Pool. Submissions accepted until 6 p.m. today.

Morning Roundup: In Charlotte, First Lady says it's all on the line today

First Lady Michelle Obama repeated Monday what her husband did four years ago – held an election eve rally in Charlotte and urged supporters to stay “fired up” for one more day.

“It’s all going to come down to what happens in a few key battleground states like North Carolina,” Obama told more than 4,000 people who jammed a hanger at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. “… It’s all at stake tomorrow.” Full story here.

More political headlines:

--An Election Day primer: N.C. counties to watch, top battleground states and a TV guide. Weather won't be a problem statewide.

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