Tags: Early Voting

How Much Will Cuyahoga’s Vote Drop from 2008?


Over at Third Base Politics, a right-leaning blog covering Ohio politics, they think turnout in Cuyahoga County — which includes Cleveland and its suburbs — is down dramatically from 2008. This is a county that Obama won, 69 percent to 30 percent, in 2008.

They summarize:

Data from the Secretary of State showed 253,000 early votes already cast in Cuyahoga County. 

23% of in-person voting using total registered Cuyahoga County voters from 2008 would be 255,595 votes for a total of around 508,000 votes.

In 2008, Cuyahoga ended up casting a little more than 678,000 votes.

That means that as of 5:00pm, Cuyahoga County is approximately 170,000 votes short of its 2008 total.

They add, “Reports are that suburban Cuyahoga is over-performing right now, so things may be even worse than these terrible numbers appear.”

Tags: Early Voting , Ohio

Early Vote in Volusia Shifted 15 Points to the GOP From 2008


One of my key counties to watch tonight is Volusia County, Florida, northeast of Orlando.

In 2008, Obama carried the county, 52.19 percent to 46.53 percent for John McCain.

The early vote in Volusia is concluded. Registered Democrats made up 44.8 percent of the early votes (27,123 votes) and registered Republicans made up 33.3 percent (20,156 votes). Independent/other made up 21.7 percent (13,152 votes.)

Before you panic, back in 2008, the split was much wider in favor of Obama (and the early-vote totals were much higher as well).

Four years ago, registered Democrats made up 52.3 percent of the early voters (35,902 votes) and Republicans made up just 26.8 percent (18,424 votes), with independents making up 20.8 percent (14,304 votes).

In short, the registered-Democrat early vote dropped by 8,779 votes and the registered-Republican early vote increased by 1,732 votes.

Four years ago, the Election Day vote went well enough for John McCain to shift from getting squashed in the early vote by 25 points to losing by 6 points. A similar 19-point shift in this cycle would put Romney ahead by 6 percentage points.

Tags: Early Voting , Florida , Volusa County

Republicans 5 Points Ahead of 2008 in Pasco County, Florida


A reader in Pasco County, Florida, calls attention to the fantastically updated county elections site.

I didn’t have Pasco on my list of 50 key counties in the Jolt, but I perhaps should have included it; it is north of Tampa, has 464,697 people in the last census.

In 2008, McCain carried Pasco County, Florida, 51 percent to 48 percent, 109,902 votes to 102,217 votes.

As of noon, 166,371 Pasco residents have voted: 43 percent registered Republican, 35 percent registered Democrat, the remaining independent or other. Registered Republicans outpaced registered Democrats in absentee ballots, early votes, and poll votes so far today.

A nice early sign, but no reason for anyone to slack off!

Tags: Early Voting , Florida

Despite Long Lines, Early Vote Down in Ohio’s Key Counties


Peter Hamby of CNN reports, “Dems in Ohio blowing up early vote today in blue counties like Cuyahoga, Lucas, Franklin. Some GOP anxiety about it.”

The lines are long, but they’re still shorter than they were four years ago, and barring some off-the-charts surge on the final day, fewer voters will cast ballots in at least two key counties than they did in 2008.

Cuyahoga County saw 2,536 voters Sunday, but that is down almost a thousand from the same day four years ago. In total votes, Cuyahoga County is now 14.7 percent behind where they were four years ago.

Through Sunday, 42,511 Cuyahoga County voters cast ballots early; four years ago, that number was 49,849. In 2008, 4,481 Cuyahoga County voters cast ballots on the Monday before the election.

On the other side of the state, Hamilton County saw 1,144 voters, which was less than the totals from Saturday (and every other day this week). Four years ago Sunday Obama held a rally in this county, so only four voters voted early. But among voters who did not vote in the Republican primary, the early vote turnout is 12 percent behind those totals from four years ago.

Tags: Early Voting , Ohio

How the Romney Camp Sees the Early Vote in Iowa


Here’s how the Romney campaign sees the early vote in Iowa:

Amid a much-hyped public relations campaign for in-person satellite voting, which included voting locations next to Obama rallies and visits from Hollywood stars like Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, the numbers tell a very different story. As of today, the Democrats are running 14,904 votes short of their 2008 performance, while Republicans are running 8,038 votes ahead of 2008.

So instead of an 18-point margin, Democrats maintain only a 5-point margin. With absentee ballots, Democrats lead in both requests and returns, as they have every cycle. And while Democrats have increased their AB and early-vote performance by 119 percent overall, Republicans have increased ours by 131 percent. So their raw-vote lead isn’t nearly as important as the dramatic slippage in margin. In combined absentee and in-person voting, their lead is barely 12 percent. That’s well within the margin Republicans need to be able to win on Tuesday, given our historic advantage among Election Day voters.

In fact, the current Democratic margin is below the margin they held ahead of George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, the first Republican to carry Iowa since Reagan.

And the key statistic our voting models point to is that the GOP has, as of today, 87,481 more high-propensity voters available to vote on Election Day because many more of our most committed voters have made the choice to vote on November 6. Tens of thousands more mid-propensity voters are also available, which will grow our Election Day margins even further.

According to the George Mason Elections Center, 557,432 early votes have been cast in Iowa so far. Using the percentage breakdown provided by that site, we calculate that about 241,600 registered Democrats, 179,800 registered Republicans, 136,300 no party or other have voted.

This gives the Democrats a pure registered-party-member advantage of about 62,000. How have the no party/other crowd split? The University of Iowa poll has Obama leading among independents, 41.9 percent to 40.2 percent — yes, those seem low to me, too. The Marist poll in Iowa found “Obama has a 21 point lead among Independent voters who plan to cast an early ballot, while Romney is up 9 points among independents who plan to vote on Election Day.” Let’s give Obama a 60–40 split in the no party or other (although some undoubtedly are voting third party) and give him a 27,000-vote advantage in the independents.

That gives Obama an 89,000-vote advantage in the early vote; as noted above, the Romney campaign thinks they have about 87,000 more “high-propensity voters” than the Democrats do. That looks like a really close race . . . until you get to the independents who haven’t voted early, where Romney leads by 9 in Marist (let’s say 54–45).

We don’t know how many Iowa independents will vote on Election Day, but we know 1.5 million people voted in Iowa in 2008, and 33 percent were independent, according to the exit polls, so we’re looking at roughly 500,000 independent/no party/third party voters in the state. We also know that 26.1 percent of the 675,402 early voters in 2008 were no party or other party — 176,280. In other words, in 2008, about 323,000 independents voted on Election Day instead of voting early.

If Romney has a lead of 9 points among independents, he wins. The only question is by how many votes. If independent turnout on Election Day is 50 percent of 2008, Romney wins by 14,000 votes. If it’s 70 percent of 2008, he wins by 20,000 votes. If it’s 90 percent, he wins by 26,000 votes.

Tags: Barack Obama , Early Voting , Iowa , Mitt Romney

Early Vote Down 15 Percent in Cleveland, Cincinnati


On the Thursday before Election Day in 2008, 4,583 people voted early in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland.

This was a stronghold for the Obama campaign; on Election Day, Obama carried the county 69 percent to 30 percent for John McCain.

Yesterday 2,963 people voted.

Again, some of that may be because of people being preoccupied with cleaning up storm damage, etc. But overall, by this point in 2008, 39,110 Cuyahoga County residents had voted early. As of Thursday, 33,140 have — about a 15 percent drop. And note that the early voting was ahead of the 2008 pace until Saturday.

I’m told by an Ohio reader watching the numbers in Hamilton County (which includes Cincinnati) that they see a similar pattern in that corner of the state — early voting on pace until October 25, then a slowdown that has been consistent — about 1,500 early votes per day this week, instead of the 2,000 or so this county saw four years ago. This county — where Obama won, 52 percent to 47 percent, four years ago — is also 15 percent below last cycle’s total.

“Either they are running out of buses to transport the voters or they are running out of voters,” my Ohio reader concludes.

Tags: Early Voting , Ohio

The Early Vote Is Slowing Down in Cincinnati, Too


Below I noted that the early voters in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County, Ohio (which includes Cleveland), are behind where they were on this day in 2008 — 30,177, compared to 34,527 four years ago. (Some of that is due to Sandy-related bad weather, but the slowdown actually began before the storm.)

A Campaign Spot reader has been watching the early vote in Hamilton County, Ohio, the county that includes Cincinnati. It’s a bit less heavily Democratic; Obama won there, 52 percent to 47 percent, in 2008. But it is the third-most populous county in Ohio.

This reader notes that overall, early votes are 7 percent behind the same point in 2008. What’s more, they have cross-checked the early voters with those who voted in the state’s Republican primary — and determined that non-Republican primary voters are now down 14 percent from the level of four years ago.

As in Cuyahoga County, the early vote was on par with the 2008 rate until about October 25 or so. So if one wanted to conclude that the Obama campaign’s get-out-the-vote-early efforts were merely picking the lowest-hanging fruit of the most loyal and motivated Democrats, and that they’re running out of those voters . . . well, the early voting rate in two of Ohio’s three most populous counties would seem to strengthen that argument.

Tags: Early Voting , Ohio

Tough News for Obama in Early Voting Figures


Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report notes that the early vote in Virginia is not going the way the Obama campaign hoped: “Today’s new 10/31 numbers even more troubling for Obama. His best counties way off 2008 pace.” He elaborates that as of yesterday, 185,489 ballots had been cast in Obama localities, compared to 214,783 by this point in 2008, while 115,908 in McCain, compared to 117,224 in 2008.

He adds, “Obama strongholds Arlington –20.0%, Fairfax –20.9%, Richmond –13.7% (vs. just –9.2% statewide). Hmm . . .” and “In Romney strongholds, enthusiasm up. Hanover (33.1% Obama) turnout up 6.2%, Buchanan (coal country) up 14.5% vs. 2008.”

By the way, I will be quite surprised if Romney-Ryan doesn’t outpace McCain-Palin’s vote totals and percentages in northern Virginia by a healthy margin. I say that based on the GOP get-out-the-vote operations improving in the 2009 and 2010 elections, and the almost unbelievable numbers of A) Romney-Ryan signs (paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia) in neighborhoods like mine where Obama-Biden yard signs appeared standard-issue for all homeowners four years ago and B) George Allen for Senate yard signs.

In this morning’s Jolt, now in the hands of subscribers, I took a look at some indicators in Ohio, Wisconsin, and nationally.

Hey, remember how the Obama campaign’s fantastic get-out-the-vote operation was going to create this impregnable firewall of key swing states, and run up such an enormous advantage in the early vote that Romney would never be able to make up the difference?

First interesting indicator of the morning from early voting: I mentioned Tuesday that early voting in Cuyahoga County, Ohio — the Democrat vote stronghold that includes Cleveland — slipped behind the pace of 2008 after running ahead for the first twenty-eight days of early voting or so. (We don’t know how these early voters are voting, but Obama won this county 69 percent to 30 percent last time around, so we can presume he’s leading this cycle on a somewhat comparable rate.) Well, the early vote collapsed Tuesday and Wednesday. Of course, a big chunk of that dropoff is from the remains of Hurricane Sandy dumping snow and wind and miserable weather on the Cleveland area. But if we see early voting continue to be slow in these final days, it will be a bit of evidence that the Democrats’ get-out-the-early vote effort in Ohio isn’t really expanding their total share of the vote; they’re just getting their traditional Election Day voters to vote earlier.

The second interesting indicator from early voting:

Just as the presidential race is deadlocked in the campaign’s final days, the candidates are also running about even when it comes to the ground game. Voters nationally, as well those in the closely contested battleground states, report being contacted at about the same rates by each of the campaigns. And with a fifth of likely voters reporting already having cast their ballots, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear advantage among early voters. This is in sharp contrast to early voting at this point four years ago, which favored Obama by a wide margin . . .

The Pew Research Center survey found that the race is even among all likely voters nationwide (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Unlike the last campaign, the race also is close among voters who say they have already voted.

In the poll, conducted Oct. 24-28, 19% of likely voters say they have already voted; that is unchanged from the same week in the 2008 campaign (Oct. 23-26, 2008). Currently, Romney holds a seven-point edge among early voters (50% to 43%); because of the small sample, this lead is not statistically significant. At this point four years ago, Obama led John McCain by 19 points (53% to 34%) among early voters.

Then there’s the third interesting indicator from early voting:

If the election was held today, President Barack Obama would lose the state of Wisconsin because where his base is, we have not turned out the vote early,” Mayor Michael Hancock told a Democratic rally. “The suburbs and rural parts of Wisconsin — the Republican base — are voting. President Obama’s base has yet to go vote.

“We’ve got to get our people to go vote,” Hancock said.

Later Hancock talks to the Washington Examiner and explains,

“This is a very close race, and the point we’re trying to make is make sure the base shows up, turns out and begins to vote early,” Hancock said. “I saw where the votes were rolling in, and I said we’ve got to make sure that where the president’s base is, they get out and vote.”

First question: Just how many votes does the mayor of Denver stumping in Milwaukee bring out? “Hey, everybody, grab your friends and call your neighbors! Michael Hancock’s in town!” Are we sure this guy didn’t just want to take a trip to Milwaukee for some brats? I mean, isn’t Colorado a swing state?

Secondly, Hancock must have been briefed by somebody in the Obama campaign or the Wisconsin Democratic Party. So somebody is worried about the early vote in Wisconsin, at least so far!

Tags: Early Voting

Cuyahoga County Early Vote Slips Behind 2008 Pace


The remains of Hurricane Sandy are pelting the states beyond the eastern seaboard with rain, snow, and high winds. A bit further east, millions are without power from Virginia to Massachusetts, trees have damaged homes and blocked roads, New York City is a mess, with its subways out of commission for the foreseeable future, much of Hoboken is still underwater, phone lines are down in many areas, and the Gallup tracking poll is suspended until at least Wednesday.

Early voting is likely to be disrupted in many of the suffering states, if not put on hiatus entirely. One of the big stories of this election had been both campaigns’ focus on getting out the early vote, and many analysts expected that the early vote would outpace the 30 percent who voted early in 2008. But as of Monday, we really can’t compare this cycle to the past cycle.

But even then, there are some interesting signals. A reader noticed that yesterday, the cumulative in-person early vote in Cuyahoga County fell behind the 2008 pace, and wonders “if it’s a sign that the Obama early vote in Ohio was front-loaded.” This is the county that includes Cleveland and that Obama won, 69 percent to 30 percent, in 2008.

Early voting in Ohio begins 35 days before Election Day. For the first 24 days of early voting, the pace of 2012 ran slightly ahead of the 2008 pace. They recorded 1,895 votes on this year’s first day, compared to 696 four years ago; 12,771 votes with three weeks to Election Day, compared to 10,616 votes on the same day four years ago; and so on. But with eight days remaining until Election Day, 26,386 early votes have been cast in Cuyahoga County, compared to 27,529 with eight days to go in 2008.

In 2008, 54,340 Cuyahoga County residents voted early; this year’s accumulated vote amounts to 48 percent of last year’s total. The early voting did pick up in the final days before Election Day, so in a normal cycle, we might see a pickup. But with this new complication of weather yesterday and today, early voting is likely to slip significantly for at least a few days.

There’s one other wrinkle: The number of registered voters, both statewide and in Cuyahoga County, is down significantly:

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio has passed. About 7.9 million people are registered to vote in Ohio for the November election. Though that number is expected to slightly increase, that’s down from about 8.2 million registered to vote in 2008.

In Cuyahoga County alone, there are about 80,000 fewer registered voters than there were four years ago.

The bottom line is that turnout this year is probably going to be slightly lower than in 2008, and each party’s early-vote effort may indeed be “cannibalizing” the Election Day vote. But in many of these key states — Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and now Pennsylvania — the early vote is likely to slow to a trickle.

Tags: Barack Obama , Early Voting , Hurricanes , Ohio

The Early Vote Totals This Saturday Morning


One of the lines you’ll hear periodically is that President Obama’s chances look better than some polls might suggest, because he’s running up his vote totals in early voting.

Larry Schweikart points out that at least in Ohio, the early vote is much closer than it was in 2008.

An Ohio history professor’s analysis of absentee ballot requests found a significant shift in Republican enthusiasm in the battleground state since 2008.

The University of Dayton’s Larry Schweikart tallied absentee ballot requests so far in 2012 and compared them to similar requests four years ago. His review showed a 7-point swing in favor of the GOP.

Still more Democrats than Republicans requested early ballots, but Democrats’ percentage advantage has shifted from 33-19 in 2008 to 30-23 this year.

Last night, he went through the county-by-county trend here. Over in the Corner, Josh Jordan finds the same phenomenon.

Earlier in the week, we noted that there was dramatic shifts in favor of the GOP in Tennessee and North Carolina, with 50,000 votes in. Now with about 150,000 votes in, the registered Democrats have regained the lead. (Keep in mind, this is only the registered party ID, not whether the voter is casting a ballot for a Republican and Democrat.)

In Nevada, Democrats did manage to create a registered-voter gap that was almost as large as the one in 2008, but the number of absentee ballot requests is much closer.

In Iowa, 48.8 percent of returned ballots have come from registered Democrats, 30.5 percent from registered Republicans,  and 20.6 percent from other or independent.

In Florida, 45 percent of the ballots cast have come from registered Republicans, 39.5 percent have come from registered Democrats, and 15.6 percent from other.

Also note that it is possible to read too much into the early votes. Many of the figures above come from the Elections Project at George Mason University run by professor Michael McDonald. He offered this assessment in mid-October 2010:

For pollsters conducting surveys in Ohio, these high levels of early voting will force them to modify their likely voter modeling to account for people who have already voted. Finally, early voting in these counties raises a good question how the much-discussed enthusiasm gap towards Republicans will actually play out when it comes to voting.

UPDATE: A helpful reader pointed me to Iowa statistics, which tell a similar story as Ohio. Someone forgot to tell Democratic voters about the enthusiasm gap. 42% of the 119,430 early voters in Iowa are registered Democrats compared with 29% registered as Republican. A county-by-county analysis shows registered Democrats in Iowa returning their mail ballots at a higher rate than Republicans.

Of course, Republicans won the statewide races in Ohio and Iowa handily in 2010.

Nationwide, about 3.3 million votes have been cast already.

Tags: Early Voting , Ohio

The Great Big Early Voting Roundup


For the most part, the early voting numbers for Republicans are pretty darn good.

There are some who argue that because turnout for a presidential election year is different from a midterm election year, the better comparison is to 2006. But early voting has grown more popular cycle by cycle, from about 7 percent in 1994 to about 14 percent in 2002 to almost 20 percent in 2006 to 30 percent last year. In particular, Democrats put a lot more effort into early voting in 2008 and overcame a traditional GOP advantage in this area. So it’s hard to compare early voting to results more than one cycle back.

Either way, the current House of Representatives is shaped by the electorate that voted in 2008; a lot of House Democrats who were carried along by the Obama wave will not be returning in January 2011, so I think a comparison to 2008 is worthwhile.

All of the figures below are from the United States Elections Project at GMU as of this morning; it is important to remember we are discussing the registered party affiliation of early voters, not how they actually vote. Of course, most Republicans will vote for the GOP candidate, and most registered Democrats will vote for the Democrat.

Colorado: Early voting in 2008: 37.7 percent Democrat, 35.9% GOP, 26.4 percent independent.

Early voting so far in 2010: 36% Democrat, 41.7% GOP, 21.6 percent independent.

Some folks argued that’s disappointing for a surge. But I would note that Ken Buck and Michael Bennet are splitting the independents pretty evenly. This one will be close, but good GOP turnout is a good sign for Buck.

Florida: This is the amazing one. Early voting in 2008: 45.6 percent Democrat, 37.3 percent Republican, 17.1 percent independent.

Early voting in 2010: 33.7 percent Democrat, 52.8 percent Republican, 13.5 percent independent.

Perhaps all of the independents and Democrats are waiting until Election Day to vote. Or perhaps the traditionally GOP-leaning Sunshine State is about to go deep red this year.

Iowa: Here Democrats can celebrate the smallest drop-off. In 2008, early votes split 46.9 percent Democrat, 28.9 percent Republican, 24.2 percent other; so far this year, it is 45.5 percent Democrat, 38.1 percent Republican, 16.4 percent other.

Louisiana: Another huge swing. In 2008, the state’s early vote was 58 percent registered Democrats, 28.7 Republicans, and 13.3 percent other. This year, so far, it is 45.9 percent Democrat, 43.5 percent Republican, 10.6 percent other. African-Americans were 35.6 percent of early voters in 2008; this cycle, so far, they make up 20.2 percent.

(It’s worth noting that Louisiana has a lot of conservative voters who are registered Democrats.)

Maine: Another big surge for the GOP. In 2008, the early vote split 41.1 percent Democrat, 27.7 percent Republicans, 31.2 percent other. So far in 2010 it is 37.1 percent Democrats, 36.9 percent Republicans, 24.2 percent independent, 1.8 percent Green.

Maryland: Democrats probably don’t have to worry too much here. The state did not collect party ID on early voters in 2008, but so far this year it breaks down 63.8 percent Democrat, 27.4 percent Republican, 8.8 percent other. (Note: Maryland didn’t have “early voting” per se, but it had absentee voting, which some states count as “early votes.”)

Nevada: Clark and Washoe Counties break down their vote by party registration.

In 2008, Clark was 52 percent Democrat, 30.6 percent Republican, 17.4 percent other; in 2010, so far, it is 46 percent Democrat, 38.2 percent Republican, 15.9 percent other.

In 2008, Washoe was 47.1 percent Democrat, 35.3 percent Republican, 17.5 percent other; in 2010, so far, it is 40.2 percent Democrat, 45.9 percent Republican, 13.9 percent other.

Overall, NRO contributor Elizabeth Crum sees a GOP surge.

North Carolina: Barack Obama shocked the nation by winning North Carolina in 2008, and he was helped by an early vote that split 51.4 percent Democrat, 30.2 percent Republican, 18.5 percent none or other. This year, Democrats are seeing a drop-off: 44.6 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican, 17.3 percent independent/none/other.

Ohio: With no easy-to-track statewide numbers, I’ll turn things over to Jon Keeling and the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

With a week until Election Day, the numbers of Republican absentee ballots cast in Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties are close to surpassing the numbers from 2008, a presidential year with generally a higher turnout. And in Franklin County, absentee ballots cast are running pretty close to even between voters of the major parties — 29,419 for Democrats to 28,506 for Republicans — after running more than 2-to-1 for Democrats in 2008. In the state’s largest three counties combined, Republicans have cast about 40 percent of the partisan absentee ballots compared to only 26 percent in 2008 . . . Democrats have explanations, but local Republicans have grins on their faces as they see GOP absentee ballots close to surging past 2008 levels in Cuyahoga County while Democrats have barely hit the halfway mark.

Pennsylvania: This state did not break down its early vote by partisan registration in 2008, but so far in 2010 — with only 49,756 votes so far — it is 56.4 percent Republican, 34.7 percent Democrat, and 6.2 percent Democrat.

West Virginia: The news isn’t all bad for Democrats. In 2008, it was 53 percent Democrat, 29.1 percent Republican, 9.1 percent other. In the state’s early voting period this year, it was 55 percent Democrat, 35.3 percent Republican, and 9.6 percent other. (Keep in mind that Obama lost the state by a wide margin in 2008, so plenty of West Virginia Democrats voted for John McCain.)

Now, all of the standard caveats apply: Early voting is still going on in most states, so the numbers may shift in the coming days. And standard Election Day get-out-the-vote efforts still count for a lot, as the Election Day vote will probably be 70-80 percent of the total. But Republicans can feel pretty good with what they’re seeing so far.

Tags: 2010 , Early Voting

Bob Menendez, Hoping No One Looks Too Close at Early Voting Data


Another note on early voting . . .

Mike Allen’s morning newsletter reports:

DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez will be out today with an “Early Vote Data” memo asking, “Where’s the Surge?” “In fact, to the contrary, in key Senate races, we are seeing encouraging signs for Democrats. . . . RAW BALLOTS: Democrats have cast more ballots [than Republicans] in West Virginia, California, and Nevada and we know from our targeting that likely Democratic voters have cast more ballots than likely Republican voters in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington. . . . In short, we believe these races remain very close and will stay competitive through election day.

Menendez must hope no one goes back and looks at voter-registration statistics for those states. Because once you look at them, you realize that if the situation had reversed, i.e., if more Republicans had cast ballots than Democrats in West Virginia, California, and Nevada, then we could probably declare winners in those races already.

As of 2008, West Virginia has 675,305 registered Democrats and 353,437 registered Republicans, a 55 percent to 29 percent split. Yet McCain won the state. So a voter’s registered party identity and his vote in any given race don’t always align.

According to the most recent figures, California has 7,531,986 registered Democrats and 5,257,669 registered Republicans, a 44.3 percent to 30.9 percent split.

According to the most recent figures, Nevada has 588,970 Democrats and 484,791 Republicans, a 42.7 percent to 35.1 percent split.

There ought to be more Democratic early votes in these states than Republican votes; the Democrats have a larger pool of registered voters to choose from in their early efforts. Yet in West Virginia, registered Republicans made up 35 percent of the early votes, about 6 percent above their share of registered voters as a whole. In Nevada, according to GMU’s data, the two parties are running about even statewide. Neither one is a particularly good omen for Democrats.

Tags: Early Voting

Checking the Toomsday Forecast Each Morning Can Be Maddening


The poll-oriented bits of this morning’s Jolt . . .

Early to Vote, Early to Rise, Makes a Man . . . Not Spend Time on Line on 11/2

I suspect it’s easy to overstate the value of the early vote; in 2008, roughly 31 million voted early or absentee out of a total of 131 million votes cast in the presidential race, so roughly 23 percent. On the other hand, early votes are more concrete than poll responses.

Politico offers an early, comprehensive sense of how they’re going so far: “Just over a week before Election Day, signs of widespread Republican enthusiasm are apparent in the early-voter data, including in some places with highly competitive statewide races. Yet at the same time, for Democrats there are promising data in numerous states suggesting that the idea of a devastating turnout gap may be overblown. POLITICO surveyed early voting through Saturday in 20 states, and in 14 of the 15 that have voter registration by party, the GOP’s early turnout percentage is running ahead of the party’s share of statewide voter registration — whether measured against 2006 or 2008, when President Barack Obama’s campaign led to a surge in Democratic voter registration. As a result, Republicans say they’re turning the tables on the Democratic dominance of early voting that paved the way for Obama’s victory in 2008 — and that independents’ lean toward the GOP this year will do the rest.”

As much as I would like to be doing cartwheels over the early voting numbers, I tend to agree with this cautious attitude from Nate Silver: “First, early patterns seem to differ a lot from state to state this year — with Republicans posting terrific numbers in some states at the same time Democrats do surprisingly well in others. So there tends to be some cherry-picking in the analysis of results: Democrats, for instance, might point to their numbers in Iowa and Ohio, which are good, and Republicans theirs in Florida or Pennsylvania. Second — even if we know how many people in each party have cast ballots so far — it’s not clear what the point of comparison ought to be to be. Is the benchmark supposed to be 2008, when Democrats put a ton of emphasis on early voting? (If so, this year’s numbers look really good so far for Republicans.) Or is then benchmark the years prior to 2008, when the conventional wisdom held that older voters — who are more likely to be Republican — were most inclined to vote early or by mail? Is the idea that, because Republicans are apparently more fired up in this election, they ought to be doing especially well among early voters? Or can the number of early voters be taken more or less at face value in terms of predicting the eventual turnout? Articles grounded in different assumptions about the comparisons may come to very different conclusions about what the early voting data implies. That said, I do think there is some value in looking at the early voting numbers. And they seem to point toward an enthusiasm gap that is broadly consistent with what the pollsters are seeing.”

ADDENDA: Tracking polls are always interesting, but you have to be ready for them to bounce around a lot because of their generally smaller sample sizes. The Morning Call/Muhlenberg tracking poll stunned us all when it debuted with Joe Sestak leading Pat Toomey, 44 percent to 41 percent. The next night the two were tied at 43 each; then Toomey led 45 to 42. This morning? Toomey 47, Sestak 42. That’s obviously preferable to the alternative, but you can drive yourself insane looking for the reason and meaning behind every 2 percentage point shift.

Tags: Early Voting

Digging Into the Early Voting Numbers . . .


One of my readers, Charlie, takes a look at the early voting numbers from 2008 and compares them to the early voting numbers in 2010, or at least so far.

He finds, “in every state where there is partisan split data for both years, the Republicans have gained in early voting.” The shift in partisan turnout has ranged from Republicans gaining 4.2 percentage points from the 2008 numbers (West Virginia) to 27.4 percentage points from the 2008 numbers (Florida).

(The stunning figure is that 52.8 percent of the more than 778,000 early votes in Florida this year come from registered Republicans.)

Colorado’s early vote is 7.1 percentage points more Republican.

Iowa’s early vote is 10.2 percentage points more Republican.

Louisiana’s early vote is 25.9 percentage points more Republican.

Maine’s early vote is 13.3 percentage points more Republican.

North Carolina’s early vote is 14.9 percentage points more Republican.

In Clark County, Nevada, it is 7.1 percent more Republican; in Washoe County, Nevada, it is 11 percent more Republican.

“The average of these states show that early voting has shifted from a D+16.6 partisan split to a D+1.7 partisan split for a Republican gain of +14.9% since 2008,” Charlie concludes.

Tags: Early Voting

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