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Politics & Policy

North Carolina and Florida, Keeping It Close to the End

A busy Morning Jolt to start Election Week! We begin by going through the early vote numbers in Nevada, step by step, to see if Jon Ralston’s assessment that his home state is out of reach for Donald Trump holds water. Then we turn to the early vote figures most important states on the East Coast, North Carolina and Florida.

What the Early Vote Numbers in North Carolina and Florida Tell Us

The early voting numbers in the two key East-Coast swing states look better for Trump than the numbers in Nevada, but they still point to a really close result.

In North Carolina, 3.1 million voted early. In that group, 41.7 percent were registered Democrats, 31.9 percent were registered Republicans, and 26.1 percent were independent.

The 2012 split was 47.4 percent Democrats, 31.5 percent Republicans, 20.9 percent other or independent – and Romney won by 2 percentage points overall, about 92,000 votes.

Who are all of those new independent or unaffiliated voters casting ballots for? Pick your theory:

Some analysts speculate that unaffiliated voters, who are younger than the general voting population, are more likely to vote for liberal candidates. At least one has noted that about half of North Carolina’s unaffiliated voters cast ballots in the primaries, and the majority of those chose to vote on Republican ballots, suggesting that may be their true party preference.

Is there a drop-off among African-Americans? Yes, but it shouldn’t be overstated. Statewide, African-Americans make up 22 percent of the early vote; four years ago, they made up 27 percent.

There are some corners of the state where African-American turnout is probably going to increase. Bertie County is the most heavily-African-American county in the state, and last cycle Obama won the county with 66 percent of the vote. In 2012, 4,420 ballots were cast in early voting. This year, 5,356 voters cast ballots early.

In 2012, Obama won Wake County, which includes Raleigh, 54 percent to 44 percent – a 54,000 vote margin. This year, “Wake County surpassed all of its prior early voting turnouts, with more than 302,000 residents casting their ballots in the 2016 general election; the previous early voting turnout record was 260,743 in the 2012 general election.”

In Florida, more than 6.4 million people have voted already. About 2.55 million are registered Democrats, 2.46 million are registered Republicans. Democrats have an advantage of about 87,000 votes. The good news for Trump is that the CBS News/YouGov poll, released Sunday, has him winning independents 47 percent to 34 percent. (As of November 1, 66 percent of voters classified “NPA” (No Party Affiliation) were white, 18 percent were Hispanic.)

(Don’t sleep on Georgia, where the state’s overall early vote is 23 percent higher than in 2012. Fulton County is the most populous county in the state and includes the city of Atlanta. Sunday Fulton election officials announced a record early vote — 260,934 residents voted early in the 2016 general election — two-thirds of last cycle’s total vote. The early vote is 109,000 more than four years ago. Four years ago, Obama won the district, 64 percent to 34 percent, a nearly 115,000-vote margin.)

This morning, Quinnipiac released their last polls of these two key states:

Florida: Clinton gets 46 percent to Trump’s 45 percent, with 3 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and 1 percent for Green party candidate Jill Stein.

North Carolina: Clinton at 47 percent to Trump’s 45 percent, with 3 percent for Johnson. Clinton had 47 percent to Trump’s 44 percent November 2.

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