RALEIGH — The polls may have just closed on 2014, but that opens the door for talk of 2016. That is especially true in a state like North Carolina, which has proven it’s a divided state.

“It was close in 2008 for the presidential race,” said Kenneth Fernandez with Elon University. “It was pretty close, Romney won by less than three points in 2012. And we saw a two point margin with Tillis and Hagan.”

Elon University Poll asked an open ended question to survey folks across the state for what they were thinking for the big race in 2016, the race for the White House.

No surprise, Democrats overwhelmingly are awaiting Hillary Clinton officially throwing her hat in the ring. Independents also say they want to see Hillary, or maybe Rand Paul.

Republicans are going with an old standby: Mitt Romney. But closer to home, another race is brewing, and has been for quite a while.

“I think there has been a pretty strong campaign against me since the day I was sworn in as the 74th governor of North Carolina,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

Ads against McCrory have been on the airwaves for a while. But make no mistake, there are ads on the other side as well.

With Attorney General Roy Cooper all but announcing his intention to run against McCrory in 2016, he sounded very much like a candidate the day after the 2014 election, posting on his Facebook page:

“The results at the polls yesterday have strengthened my resolve to make big changes in Raleigh. I am so determined to take on the challenges ahead and make sure North Carolina is a place that values a quality education, clean water and air, and good-paying jobs.”

For his part, the current governor says he can’t say for certain he’ll run again, but it is likely.

“In reality, I’ve got to start thinking about the election. It’s two years from now. I’m not even halfway through my term in office and for the last year people have been talking about my re-election,” said McCrory.

To add to the mix, 2016 is also the next time North Carolina voters will consider U.S. Senate candidates, and it will be the first time voter ID is mandated at the polls.

And with fatigue from 2014 still present, voters won’t get much of a break before 2016 campaigning begins.

– Loretta Boniti