COVID-19 Rates, Support For Trump Not Closely Tied In NC Counties

Nov 6, 2020

File photo of a car decorated with pro-Trump stickers and decals makes its way through downtown Hillsborough as part of the "Trump Train" to show support for President Trump and other North Carolina Republicans on the ballot.
Credit Mitchell Northam / WUNC

There doesn't appear to be a strong correlation in North Carolina between counties that voted for President Donald Trump, and counties with high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, according to a WUNC analysis.

For instance, the five counties with the lowest COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population all voted for Trump. Camden County, for example, overwhelmingly supported the incumbent. Trump's winning margin there was some 48 percentage points, yet it has one of the lowest case counts of COVID-19 in the state.

There was only one county - Edgecombe - that had more than 33 new cases per day per 100,000 population, and at the same time delivered a victory margin of higher than 5 percentage points to former Vice President Joe Biden. Still, more than a dozen counties saw those same numbers and voted for Trump - showing a slight correlation between the two.

This analysis runs counter to findings in other states. NPR and the Associated Press have both reported stronger correlations between COVID-19 case counts and Trump support.

For its analysis, WUNC looked at new cases by county since Oct. 1, calculated the daily average new cases per 100,000 in order to make comparisons across all 100 counties regardless of total population.