Early Voting Breakdowns Good For Obama
Marc Ambinder breaks down the early voting numbers, and things aren’t looking good for McCain.
Gallup and Pew data show that Democrats are leading in the early vote. The equally reliable Annenberg National Election Survey’s data shows that, across the country, Democrats are tied with Republicans in the early vote. Obviously, early voting matters by state only, but these datums are worth noting because Republicans have historically held an early vote advantage nationwide. (Note: Republicans tend to get their folks to fill out absentee ballots and return them early; Dems are investing disproportionately in getting people to leave their homes and vote early, so Democratic numbers will increase as the election approaches.)
In battleground states, Obama is “leading” in Florida (2.5 million people; Democrats have a +6 advantage on ballots turned in) up slightly in Colorado (note that the early vote is already approaching 50% of the 2004 total), leading in Nevada, overperforming in North Carolina (where Dems have historically had a good program) and a few points behind in Georgia. (35.5% of the early voters there are black.)
Ambinder also notes that this is the reverse of the 2004 trends, which should a larger Republican lead.
A note about Colorado: an internal Republican spreadsheet suggests that Democrats have returned 34.6% of their ballots as of Tuesday and Republicans have returned 32.9% of their ballots for about a 15,000 vote advantage. In 2004, at about this time, Republicans had n advantage and won the early vote by about eight points. 1.6 million people requested mail-in ballots — that’s triple the 2004 number — and Obama has a two to one advantage with low turnout voters who’ve already turned in their ballots.
Read the whole post, which has lots more data as well as links to the direct sources. The bottom line here is that more people are voting early this year, and the majority of people voting early are Democrats. This speaks not only to the enthusiasm gap that McCain has been suffering under for this election cycle, but also to the Obama campaign’s GOTV efforts and ground game.
It’s important to realize that the Obama campaign hasn’t just been channeling it’s fundraising efforts into more advertising–it’s been channeling a lot of effort to its volunteers and voter information campaigns. Heck, just look at this. Yes, that’s the Obama campaign organizing volunteers in one state to go help with get out the vote efforts in battleground states. The Obama campaign pays for hotel and meal expenses. That’s the ground game that the McCain campaign finds himself up against–I checked the McCain website and found no similar program. Frankly, given the limitations of federal funding, I doubt that McCain would have the resources to devote much to such a program anyway. Especially when he has been diverting resources to states that should be safe, like Montana and Arizona.