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LIVE UPDATES: Fox News Projects Mitt Romney Wins North Carolina

UPDATE, 11:00p ET: Fox News can now project that Mitt Romney will win North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes. Check out the numbers:


Get continuing updates on the standings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the state of North Carolina, with latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary.

UPDATE, 10:33p ET: Take a look at the current standings in North Carolina, where the race is still too close to call -

UPDATE, 8:45p ET: Check out the latest numbers out of North Carolina.


UPDATE, 7:30p ET: The polls have closed in North Carolina, but the race remains too close to call.


Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama: 46.0%
Mitt Romney: 49.8%

Poll Times:
Open: 6:30a ET
Close: 7:30p ET

2008 Election Results:
Obama - 2,142,651 votes - 49.70%
McCain - 2,128,474 votes - 49.38%
Other - 39,664 votes - 0.92%

BACKGROUND:
Obama's 14,000-vote victory in 2008 was the first win for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976. The GOP had carried North Carolina in nine of 10 elections before Obama’s narrow 2008 win.

McCain lost no state in 2008 by a closer

margin than he did in North Carolina.

Carrying North Carolina used to be a quadrennial given for the Republican running for president. But in 2008, Obama caught McCain’s campaign sleeping.

In 2008, backed by a ground game that’s come to be a model, Obama rode a record turnout by African-Americans and younger voters to become the first Democrat to carry the state since Southerner Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Out of the 4.3 million votes cast in North Carolina in the 2008 presidential election, Obama got about 14,000 more than McCain, allowing Obama to edge out a victory of less than half a percentage point.

Between Carter's win in North Carolina in 1976 and Obama's in 2008, the Democratic presidential nominee averaged a measly 42.9 percent in the Tarheel State. Obama was the first non-Southerner since 1960 to win North Carolina.

North Carolina is one of nine states won by George W. Bush in 2004 that shifted to Obama four years later. Political analysts can’t envision Romney reaching 270 electoral votes without turning the state red again.

In 2008, the campaign of Republican McCain did not mount a major effort in North Carolina until the final weeks of the campaign, when it realized it was in trouble here.

This year, Romney's campaign was determined not to get caught off guard in North Carolina like McCain was four years ago. Republicans have built a more substantial ground operation here, but still trail Obama in manpower.

But the odds still look to be in Romney’s favor.

North Carolina, once solidly red, turned narrowly blue in 2008, then more than reverted in a 2010 midterm election that saw a GOP wave throughout the state. Republicans have been very upbeat.

Compared with Obama, Romney has fewer paths to victory in the state-by-state contest to cobble together enough wins to reach the requisite 270 Electoral College votes. That makes North Carolina's 15 electoral votes more important to him than to Obama, who could still win the White House without a North Carolina victory.

Romney’s campaign has begun shifting staff out of North Carolina, saying, on Oct. 18, it was feeling confident enough that the state would go Republican.

Former Clinton strategist Paul Begala, an adviser to the super-PAC aiding President Obama's reelection efforts, said Oct. 22 that it appeared that the president had given up on North Carolina. Begala was asked whether the president had essentially conceded the state to GOP challenger Mitt Romney, and responded flatly with a "yes" during an appearance Monday on CNN.

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