The Huffington Post / October 29, 2008
From the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll:
More than twelve million voters have already cast ballots in the presidential contest, according to one estimate, and new data from the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll shows these voters breaking Democratic by a wide margin.
Among those who said they have already voted at an early voting location or sent in an absentee ballot, Barack Obama picked up 60 percent of the vote in the new poll to John McCain’s 39 percent.
These voters make up 9 percent of “likely” voters in the track. The senator from Illinois has a similar lead, 58 to 39 percent, among those who plan to vote early but have not yet. (Those who plan to vote on Election Day also go for Obama, but by a narrower, 51 to 45 percent.)
The voter preferences of the group of 1,430 individuals who have already voted and who were interviewed by Gallup between Oct. 17 and Oct. 27 show a 53% to 43% Obama over McCain tilt.
Among the group of those who say they have not yet voted, but will before Election Day, the skew towards Obama is more pronounced, at 54% to 40%. By comparison, those who are going to wait to vote on Nov. 4 manifest a narrower 50% to 44% Obama over McCain candidate preference. (Across all registered voters over this time period, Obama leads McCain by a 51% to 43% margin).
As of Tuesday, at least 9,813,052 ballots had been cast in 31 states that allow early, in-person or absentee voting without having to provide an excuse. The figures are based on reports from state election officials.
Of those votes, at least 1.2 million ballots have been cast by registered Democrats and at least 731,200 by registered Republicans.
As with early voting statistics in every state — these are not election results. Voters who are registered with a political party don’t always vote for that party’s candidates.
But the numbers suggest that this election is shattering traditional early voting patterns reflected by years of data. Historically, more Republicans than Democrats have taken part in early voting.
Some analysis of early trends from Nate Silver:
According to Michael McDonald’s terrific website, there are three states in which early voting has already exceeded its totals from 2004. These are Georgia, where early voting is already at 180 percent of its 2004 total, Louisiana (169 percent), and North Carolina (129 percent).
Hmm … can anybody think of something that those three states have in common?
The African-American population share is the key determinant of early voting behavior. In states where there are a lot of black voters, early voting is way, way up. In states with fewer African-Americans, the rates of early voting are relatively normal.
This works at the county level too. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland), which about 30 percent black, twice as many people have already voted early as in all of 2004. In Franklin County (Columbus), which is about 18 percent black and also has tons of students, early voting is already about 3x its 2004 total.
Early voting is currently at over 75% of 2004 levels with one week to go.
Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in early voting, albeit by a slim margin – 38.6% of all early voters, to 37.9% Republicans
“Across Dallas County and into the outer suburbs, thousands of people continue to stream into polling places, dwarfing early-voting records and raising questions about what the preliminary tallies mean for candidates and political parties.”
Early voting patterns in Dallas County signal that Nov. 4 could be a strong day for area Democrats. More than 300,000 residents had voted early as of Tuesday. This time four years ago, 204,000 people had voted. Democrats are seeing increased vote totals in unexpected places.
In this critical swing state, early voters already make up 27% of total 2004 numbers (in 2004, early voters constituted 36% of total votes).
Dems outnumber Republicans so far, 44.7% to 40%.
Early voting is already 33% higher than 2004 numbers, and is equivalent to 31% of all votes cast in Georgia in 2004.
Of early voters, 35% are African-American, compared to 25% of the total voting population in 2004.
Also, nearly 56% of early voters are women, another excellent sign for Democrats.
Georgia voter Kenneth Brown stood in line for hours on Tuesday in Clayton County to vote for Democratic candidate Obama. “I’d be willing to stand in line again — and vote again — if I could,” said Brown.
“Among those in Ohio who told WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA that they have already voted, Barack. When the two populations are combined, the data is as here reported: Obama 49%, McCain 45%. Compared to an identical WHIO-TV/SurveyUSA poll released two weeks ago, Obama is down 1 point; McCain is flat.”
60,000 votes have already been cast in the Tenth Congressional District.
Of those, 58% were cast by registered Democrats, compared to 25% for Republicans.
Obama should win the district and state in a landslide, but these numbers bode especially well for IL-10 Democratic candidate Dan Seals.
Registered Democrats have a 20-point advantage in early voting over Republicans in Iowa.
Early voting is near double 2004 levels. Of early voters, registered Democrats have a huge edge, 57.9% to 29.4%.
34% of early voters are African-American.
Democrats lead 54.4% to 29.1% among early voters. Early voters constituted 59.4% of all voters in 2004; this year, early voting to this point is equivalent to 44% of all 2004 numbers.
Election officials in Nevada only report party registration for Clark and Washoe counties, where the major cities of Las Vegas and Reno are located. There, early voters have been trending heavily Democratic: 161,463 to 90,017.
The two counties account for about 90 percent of the state’s population, and Democratic turnout is currently about 75 percent higher than turnout for Republicans, according to The Early Voting Center.
Early voting turnout in Clark County has vastly exceeded the pace of the 2004 presidential election. Another trend evidenced in early voting is the turnout of registered Democrats dominating Republicans — 131,622 to 70,425 through Oct. 27.
The proportion of black voters among all early voters has leveled off – they constitute 28% of all voters now – but still exceeds black registration in the state.
Early voting has far outstripped 2004 levels, and Democrats are turning out disproportionately.
As of Tuesday, just over 396,000 registered Republicans had cast early votes in North Carolina, compared with registered Democrats, who had cast 771,500 ballots — nearly twice as many.
Votes keep arriving at the region’s county clerks offices as early voters and absentee voters make their choices for president, governors and county officials. In Mercer County, 2,760 early votes had been cast as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Marie Hill of the Voter Registration Office. One hundred and seventy-seven voters came to the Mercer County Courthouse by that same time, and another 363 showed up Monday.
As of October 27, 46,830 Democrats and 24,032 Republicans had cast early ballots in the state