Despite the presidential visits and big ad spending, FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver at The New York Times makes the case that "North Carolina just isn't that important to the electoral math."
His statistical models suggest Obama has just a one in three chance of winning the state in November. Silver suggests Democrats and Republicans are making "an analytical error" in focusing so keenly on North Carolina, which he rates the 13th most important state in this year's election.
"The most important states in the electoral math are not those that are closest in an absolute sense, but rather those that are closest to the national average," he writes.
Silver uses his data to make the case that Democrats and Republicans will likely abandon North Carolina later in the campaign season: "We aren’t likely to see either campaign pull out of the state before the Democratic convention in early September — but unless the polls in North Carolina begin to show leads for Mr. Obama on a more consistent basis, it will probably be among the first on the chopping block."