The Shocker: GOP Primary Voters Outpaced Democrat Primary Voters in Virginia’s Early Vote

by Jim Geraghty

The polls in Virginia are now closed. For those wondering what this tweet referred to, I am told that Virginia Republicans examined the early vote — absentee ballot by mail and in-person absentee. This is a small portion of the overall vote, just 118,218 votes — but it’s an interesting indicator of which side is mobilizing its voters, etc. If turnout is in the 40 to 45 percent range — the usual midterms — that will amount to 2 million to 2.35 million votes.

Virginia does not register voters by party, but you can get a sense of which way a person leans by checking back and seeing which party primary they voted in in the past few cycles. This review of the early vote revealed a six-percentage-point advantage for voters who usually vote in Republican primaries over voters who usually vote in Democratic primaries. My source couldn’t recall this kind of a split ever happening.

There was a separate rumor that a Virginia college that does polls had planned to release their final survey Monday. When the poll showed Ed Gillespie ahead by 3 points, the pollsters concluded the survey had to be wrong and didn’t release it.

I was also told RNC internals had Warner ahead by just one point last week.

Does this point to a Gillespie win? Not quite. But it points to a much, much closer race than the autumn polling and conventional wisdom suggested.

The night’s dark horse?

UPDATE: Then again . . . 

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