How would Barack Obama do in North Carolina?
After doing regression analyses of 20 statewide black candidates between 2001 and 2004, Jensen concluded that race was not "statistically significant" when compared to incumbency, previous experience and party affiliation.
Still, he found that North Carolina was the state where race was "most significant."
His research was based on Ralph Campbell's narrow loss to Les Merritt in the state auditor's race in 2004.
He estimated a white Democratic incumbent would get approximately 55.5 percent of the vote, so Campbell's race had a 5.9 percent negative impact. (Merritt received 50.4 percent; Campbell, 49.6 percent.)
"This made the difference in denying Campbell reelection, while his fellow white incumbents were all reelected, usually easily," he said. "The only variable with a larger negative impact on candidate success in North Carolina is having no political experience."