NC Primary - A Done Deal? Maybe Not

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WASHINGTON - In just four days voters in North Carolina and Indiana will head to the polls to cast their vote for the Democratic nominee. And with neither candidate able to win the nomination outright - each vote will be crucial.

The high gas prices and sluggish economy has the candidates pulling out all the stops.

Today, we focus on North Carolina - a state that many pundits say Obama has a great chance to win. But it may be closer than people think.

Will It Ever End?

The race for the White House grows ever on, with 134 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina.

"I'm surprised it's been as close as it's been for as long as it's been," said Eric Heberlig, Ph.D. a political science professor at UNC Charlotte.Voter registration has swelled. More than one million North Carolinians are expected to vote Tuesday -many of them already casting their ballots with "one-stop early voting."

But nevertheless, the candidates and their campaigns have set up shop in North Carolina, crisscrossing the Tar Heel State trying to sway voters. And the crowds are coming.

"I saw Hillary Clinton last night, and I came to see Barack today," NC resident Tammy Beck said.

The economy is on everyone's mind.

"There are a lot of people here in the Catawba Valley region that have been affected because so many furniture factories here have gone out of business," Rev. Marcus Williams said.

Analysts say the state is the perfect place for Obama to win.

"It's a state that works in favor of Obama with a large African American population of young, highly educated Democrats," said the UNCC professor.

But Clinton could make some inroads here too.

Don't Count Clinton Out Yet

"Even with Hillary we may still see a high turnout from women," Pearl Ford, Ph.D., a political science professor at Johnson C. Smith University professor said.

"I want her," said one North Carolina resident. "She has the strength, she has the experience, she has the heart, and she's a woman, she's a woman, she's a woman."

And as for the undecided voter - they could be key.

"I haven't decided yet," said NC voter Lindy Wilson. "All of the candidates have attributes I like."

Most polls show Obama with a double digit lead, but Clinton just received a huge endorsement from the state's Governor Mike Easley.

And the Jeremiah Wright controversy could hurt Obama too.

"I think it was expected that at some point he would make statements to defend himself. It was a matter of when and how he would do it. The issue will probably not go away," Pearl said.

So will this state turn the tide in a very heated contest?

Heberlig said, "I think Democratic party leaders have hoped throughout that the voters would decide this thing, and what the voters have showed us is to this point, they're evenly split.

So far, the road to The White House has been full of twists and turns for Clinton and Obama, but the North Carolina primary could be the ultimate game changer if Clinton can win in a state where Obama is expected to do well.

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