An update to our last two posts on North Carolina, which have showed that the lead Barack Obama now holds over John McCain is unlikely to be overcome:

18,000 uncounted votes -- remnants from the early voting period -- were discovered in Rockingham County, a Republican-leaning county north of Greensboro.

The State Board of Elections has updated their website to incorporate the new ballots, and Obama's lead in NC has now grown to 13,746 votes, 2,123,332 to 2,109,586.

This isn't a surprise. Rockingham County did favor McCain: McCain won Rockingham 56.7% to 42.3% over Obama, according to state election results. But the 18,000 ballots in question were early votes, and according to one source, same-day registration ballots.

The Obama campaign heavily pushed early voting and same-day registration, so the 18,000 new ballots were disproportionately Democratic.

So where does that leave the race now?

There are still some 40,000 provisional ballots that remain to be counted. But the math is nearly impossible for McCain: Assuming 65% of the provisional ballots check out, as is the usual average, that leaves 26,000 votes yet to be counted.

McCain would need to win over 75% of the provisional ballots cast to make up his current 13,700+ vote deficit with Obama in North Carolina -- 25 points better than he did in the overall election.

As I said before, stranger things have happened. But at this point, we can still safely call North Carolina for Barack Obama.