Millions of North Carolinians have already cast their ballots for this fall’s elections, and GOP officials have been closely monitoring the results and comparing them to the voting patterns exhibited in 2012, when Mitt Romney won the state by 2.5 points.
A senior GOP operative writes with a read on the results so far. In 2012, with three days until the election, Republicans trailed Democrats by 16.3 points among early voters and those who voted absentee. This year, Republicans have narrowed that number to 15.7 points. “The Republican gain this year is due in no large part to a better performance with early voting,” says the operative. “Whereas in 2012, Republicans were 19 percent behind the Democrats with One-Stop Early Vote, this year Republicans finished 17.5 percent behind.” One-Stop Early Vote allows voters to cast ballots in person for over two weeks before an election.
Democrats in the South are increasingly relying on African-Americans to buoy them; thus far, they account for a smaller percentage of the electorate than in 2012. That year, they comprised 27.5 percent of the early vote; this year, the number stands at 25 percent. The white vote, correspondingly, accounts for a greater percentage of the early vote this year, by 4.3 points.
On the basis of the numbers he’s seeing thus far, the operative predicts a “narrow” Tillis victory.