[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/06/art.sc.cnn.jpg caption="North Carolina voters are happy to have a say."]
WILMINGTON, North Carolina (CNN) — Voting under a typical ‘Carolina blue’ sky, droves of Democrats are turning out at polling stations in Wilmington, North Carolina.
If the headline of today’s local paper, the Wilmington Star-News, is any indication, it should be a big day for the Democratic Party. The headline reads ‘Record turnout possible’—and a beautiful spring day may draw more people to the polls.
Many voters in Wilmington are buzzing because for the first time in twenty years, North Carolina’s Democratic primary will play a significant role in deciding the party’s nominee.
“It’s really exciting,” a woman voting at Rachel Freeman Elementary School said. “It normally doesn’t matter as much.”
Heading into today’s primary, a CNN poll of polls showed Barack Obama with a 10 percent lead over Hillary Clinton in North Carolina. A win for Obama here would strengthen his grip on the delegate lead, but a better-than-expected showing by Clinton in another large state would bolster her claim that she’s the more formidable candidate in a general election.
Voters in this southern port city are happy to share their views on both candidates.
“I voted for Obama,” noted Parrish Ravelli, a local health educator. “I think he has the greatest ability to look beyond himself as president and make the best decisions to help the largest amount of people.”
A young woman named Jill said she feels that Clinton will make the better president. “I like her health care policies,” she says.
Despite there being almost 700, 000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections, opinions are mixed when asked whether a Democrat can win the state in a general election.
“Yeah, I think they can, it’s time for a change,” an elder African-American couple remarked. “More people are voting than ever, and especially young people.”
But Shawn Arledge, a local carpenter, says he doesn’t think it’s possible.
“I don’t,” Arledge opined. “But hey, there’s always hope.”
Related: CNN's Susan Candiotti speaks to N.C. voters about issues that concern them