This is interesting:
But voter behavior is only part of the change drawing political attention to North Carolina. Presidential contenders are increasing their focus here because the state has more clout on the national stage than it did as recently as the 1980s. The same population boom that has helped alter the political landscape in North Carolina has also led to an increase in the number of electoral votes the state is allotted in the presidential election. While some states (such as Illinois and Pennsylvania) have been given fewer and fewer electoral votes since 1980, North Carolina has been on the rise. North Carolina now has 15 electoral votes, up from 13 in 1988. While that is fewer than Ohio’s 20, it is more than some of the other traditional swing states such as Missouri, which has 11.
In fact, only eight states have more electoral votes than North Carolina (New Jersey and Georgia are tied with North Carolina at 15 votes). In an election where only 270 electoral votes are needed to win, the Tarheel State matters.