The Corner

Republicans Doing Better in Early/Absentee Ballot Votes Than In 2008

Obama national field director Jeremy Bird issued a memo today stating:

Early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.  . . .

Pollsters talk a lot about likely voters. We pay much more attention to actual voters—and the early vote numbers prove our grassroots ground game is outmatching Romney in every way.

Overall, we’re leading early vote in the battleground states, and we’re not taking a single one for granted. Here’s a sample of what we’re seeing in the key states:

·       In Ohio, the latest public poll shows us holding steady with a four-point lead, which reflects the strong support for the President we’re seeing in early voting—despite Romney’s last-minute efforts to mislead Ohioans. Voters from precincts the President won in 2008 have cast 53 percent of the ballots, while just 47 percent come from GOP precincts. That difference is 80 percent higher than it was at this time four years ago.  . . .

Ohio doesn’t have voter registration by party. And what makes a key difference is if you look at which counties swung Democrat and which swung Republican in 2008, and which went which way in 2010. For instance, last week, when Democrats trotted out similar numbers, the GOP noted that if you looked at what counties went Republican in 2010, the early voting advantage was Romney’s:

Turning their faulty argument on its head – if you looked at the early vote based on Kasich precincts vs. Strickland precincts, the GOP has a 10.5% edge!

·         2012 AB/EV activity in precincts Kasich won in 2010: 767,077 (55.1%)

2012 AB/EV activity in precincts Strickland won in 2010: 620,665 (44.6%)

·         Kasich vs. Strickland advantage: +146,412 (+10.5%)

Then here is what Bird has to say about Florida:

·       In the first two days of Florida’s in-person early voting, Democrats have completely erased the Republican advantage in absentee ballots, and now lead Republicans in votes with 1.9 million cast. In 2008, it took Democrats six days to erase the Republican’s historical vote-by-mail advantage; in 2012, according to the AP, it’s taken 48 hours.

Per the AP’s numbers, Democrats now are leading Republicans by only 10,000 votes, with 784,000 cast by Democrats and 774,000 cast by Republicans. There have also been 307,000 ballots cast by independents – and it’s Romney who polls better among independent voters (in the latest Florida polls by CNN and PPP, Romney leads Obama by five and seven points among independents respectively).

Republicans are also doing better with absentee ballot/early voters than they were in 2008, per the RNC’s analysis yesterday:

After two days of early vote the GOP has improved 10 points over the same time in 2008. Early vote + Absentee returns combined are essentially even between the GOP and Dems, whereas in 2008 Democrats had a 7 point advantage. (Recall Obama won the state by less than 3 points).  

More from Bird:

·       In Nevada, Democrats lead Republicans by 10 points in ballots cast so far.

·       In Iowa, Democrats lead Republicans on every metric and with every group—ballots requested, ballots cast, in-person, mail, midterm voters and non-midterm voters.

·       In North Carolina, turnout is up 22 percent over 2008 levels, including among young voters and African Americans. Democrats lead Republicans by 270,000 ballots cast.

As far as North Carolina goes, the RNC blogged yesterday that Republicans, while not outperforming Democrats, were doing better in the state than they had in 2008:

Some key facts on North Carolina early vote.

Margin has improved by +10.17 compared to the same time in ’08. (REP +4.01, DEM -6.16)At this time in ’08, Republicans were out-voting Democrats in only 12 of 100 counties. Today that has more than doubled to 27 counties.Republicans have improved their margin against Democrats in 98 of 100 counties compared to this same time in 2008.

Some more key facts on early/absentee ballot voters nationwide from the RNC:

Republican absentee and early vote activity is already 85 percent of our 2008 totals and there are 8 days left until Election Day. At the same time, Democrats are just 72 percent of where they were in 2008 and have taken to converting their typical Election Day voters into early voters, a problem come next Tuesday. Combine this with the fact that 2.4 million independents in battleground states have already voted with polls showing the same voters supporting Romney by significant margins, we feel good about where we stand just over a week to Election Day.

Republican absentee and early vote activity was already at 85 percent of 2008 absentee and early votes cast in the battleground states with party registration as of October 27.

Democrat activity is barely over 72 percent of 2008 pre-Election Day votes cast.

Over 2.4 million independents in battleground states with party registration have either voted or have ballots in-hand, while poll after poll reports Romney leading among independents.

Briefly, it’s not all sunshine and roses for Romney when it comes to early/absentee ballot voters. But nor is it all bad news.  Romney is doing significantly better at this point than John McCain was among such voters, and Obama is doing significantly worse than he was in 2008. In other words, what the early votes and absentee ballots are showing us is the same as all other indications: this is going to be a close race.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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