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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    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.

    Right. In the last three days, two kids on separate days have showed up at my front door reminding me to vote (I did vote early). That’s going on all over the city. And I’m in a battleground state.

  2. Rick DeMent says:

    Annenberg National Election Survey’s data

    How can you trust these people, they hire terrorists for crying out loud !!!
    🙂

  3. Patrick says:

    The canvassers are crazy around here in Virginia as well. In addition to paying for hotels for volunteers, they also have a network of people who are offering rooms in their homes.

  4. Floyd says:

    Who knows?
    Maybe they will declare the winner before the election, just like they declared the primary winner before the convention, and determined the candidate before the primary.
    Early voting is a crime against the system, reporting the results may actually violate statute.
    This is representative of sumthin’, but it ain’t Representative Democracy.

  5. Steve says:

    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

    Alex,

    Thanks for reminding us of how easily Sen. Obama breaks his promises. If he becomes President, I’m sure we can expect more of the same. I don’t make $250,000/year. I don’t even make $100,000 a year but I don’t believe for a moment that President Obama will keep his promise and not raise my taxes within those first four years. My son has a video tape of the debates where Obama states he will not raise taxes of people earning less than $250,000. When Obama does raise our taxes he’s going to the IRS and say, “See, the President said so. I don’t have to pay these higher taxes”.

    That’s what happens when you elect an empty suit.

  6. Bithead says:

    A good point, Steve, but a simpler breakdown can be had.

    Consider all the promises he made last night on that 30 minutes.

    Now consider that, if he’d kept his promise about following the public finance laws… the deal he made with mcCain, that 30 minutes wouldn’t have been possible.

    He’s a documented liar, on this point and in more than this. Why on earth should we be trusting anything this man says, now?

  7. Rick DeMent says:

    He’s a documented liar, on this point and in more than this. Why on earth should we be trusting anything this man says, now?

    And what politician in the known universe could we trust applying that same standard Bit? John McCain doesn’t.

  8. Alex Knapp says:

    Obama never promised that he would go with public financing. He said that if he were the nominee, he’d pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee for them both to go with public financing. Obama and McCain’s lawyers DID sit down to reach one. They couldn’t come to terms (largely because the McCain campaign refused to promise to speak out against conservative 527 groups). So he did, in fact, keep his word. He pursued an agreement, but the agreement didn’t happen. End of story.

  9. Bithead says:

    Obama never promised that he would go with public financing. He said that if he were the nominee, he’d pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee for them both to go with public financing.

    Bull, Alex.

    “And then on Thursday, Fast Eddie Obama had his finest hour. Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system.

    But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.

    And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding. Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/20/opinion/20brooks.html?hp

    You guys look like you’re trying to redeine ‘is’.

    Again.

  10. physics geek says:

    Might be more to the numbers than Ambinder is saying:

    Democrats are beaming that their party is outperforming the Republicans in early voting, releasing numbers Wednesday that show registrants of their party ahead 54 percent to 30 percent among the 1.4 million voters who have gone to the polls early.

    “We’re thrilled at the record turnout so far,” said Democratic Party of Florida spokesman Eric Jotkoff. “It’s a clear indication that Democrats want to elect Barack Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot so that we can start creating good jobs, rebuilding our economy and getting our nation back on track.”

    But party breakdowns for turnout aren’t the same as final tallies, and at least one poll offered a different view for the campaign of Republican John McCain.

    A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll gave McCain a 49-45 lead over Democrat Barack Obama among Floridians who have already voted.

    And Republicans continued to show a traditional strength, leading 50 percent to the Democrats’ 30 percent in the 1.2 million absentee ballots already returned.

    Let’s assume, for the moment, that these numbers are correct. That would mean, maybe, that the large number of early Democrats voters are not translating in to large numbers of Democrat votes. I still think McCain has a big uphill climb, but I also think that party turnout may not correlate as closely to party vote as it has in the past. As to which way that discrepancy will swing, I haven’t a clue. But if FL is any indication, some might be in for a surprise.

  11. Adam says:

    This is exactly why we need a third party so badly. I like what this website has to say about it. Its a great idea of how to get a third (or fourth) party without impacting this election at all:
    http://www.thirdpartyvote.com
    Definitly worth a minute to check out.

  12. just me says:

    Early voting is one thing, but I really don’t think results should be release or even the votes counted until election day.

    Oh and there is no way in the world to defend Obama’s lie on campaign financing. It was a lie, but I think opting out was the best thing he could have done for his campaign, but it was still a lie.

  13. anjin-san says:

    but it was still a lie.

    You mean like the lie McCain told about running an honorable campaign?

  14. sam says:

    Hey, Bit, in the same column, Brooks says:

    [Obana’s] the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.

    Suck it up.

  15. Drew says:

    For those of us who truly believe that an Obama Presidency will not be good for the country this is unfortunate data. At least Obama got one thing close to right in his infomercial: “we’ve had the same problems for thirty years and nothing gets done.” Indeed.

    We declared a government lead “War on Poverty” 43 years ago, and yet Obama can still run on the same platform today. I guess we are not ready to declare this “costly, unwinable war” over yet.

    Government is in the pensions business – and the left declares Social Security as their golden example of government success – but of course every few years it is in need of triage….that is, another round of tax increases.

    Government entered into the health care arena in the 60’s with Medicare and Medicaid. How’s that working out? Current CBO projections show that Medicare could take the country to insolvency.

    Infrastructure? Neglected and crumbling. (And now slowly being privatized by private equity interests.)

    A mostly publicly administered school system? Don’t ask.

    And so it goes.

    And Obama’s “change?????” More taxes and more government programs of course.

    Inflation adjusted Federal (just Federal!) revenue has tripled since 1965. We certainly aren’t starving government. (And this spending record in a period when military spending is today taking a third of the resources available as it did in 1965.) On a per household basis inflation adjusted federal spending has been increased by 60%. (All figures CBO or Historical Tables – Federal Budget of the United States)

    More taxes are the answer, right? Inflation adjusted per household taxes have increased by 60%. And the tax incidence has become dramatically more progressive, meaning the top 20% are basically footing the bill. What about the dirty corporations? Corporate taxes are holding steady as a percent of GDP – and the whole corporate tax issue is a canard anyway.

    So what have we gotten for all this taxing and spending over the last 45 years? I – and Mr. Obama – just told you: squat.

    But now Obama wants more. This time it will be “different” you see. Sure it will. I have no idea why the American electorate keeps pulling the lever election after election – like zombies – in light of this miserable government track record.

    But I do know one thing. If they continue, 8, 18 and 28 years from now some fresh faced pol will come along promising “change” telling us how if we would just vote for them, “I’ll fix the same old problems that haven’t gotten fixed in the last 50 – 80 years………….

  16. anjin-san says:

    We keep hearing the “Democrats tax and spend” line. Well the Republican plan is “spend, spend and go broke”.

    Given the choices, I will take whats behind door #1.

  17. SavageView says:

    It’s getting ugly out there. Last night in Pittsburg, a McCain volunteer was attacked by a member of Thieves for Obama.

    What’s that? Nevermind.

  18. Eneils Bailey says:

    Early Voting Breakdowns Good For Obama

    I guess this indicates that Obama is getting all the “Mickey Mouse” and “Denver Bronco’s” votes in every swing state.
    This is all Acorn’s “get out the vote” campaign. And get the same ones out to vote in every swing state.

    Is this a great country or What?
    When all you have to do is vote to make a living.

  19. tom p says:

    More taxes are the answer, right?

    And with a $10 trillion deficit (and growing), less taxes are?

    Look Drew, for 30 yrs we have heard Republican after Republican promise lower taxes and lower spending. Time and again, they have delivered on the first (who can vote against lower taxes?), and utterly failed on the 2nd. (One can not blame 6 out of the past 8 yrs on the Dems)

    Why? It is not because of “tax and spend Dems”, it is because people want something for nothing, and politicians keep trying to give it to them. Remember, it is real easy to cut somebodies taxes… Real hard to cut a program (or a subsidy).

    This is not a Dem problem or a GOP problem, but given a choice between a “tax and spend” Democrat, and a “spend and tax Republican”, I have to ask…

    Which is more up front? The Dems want to tax me, the Republicans want to tax my Grand-children…

    American’s have said, time and again, Social Security, Medicare, and Defense are off the table… What is left? Earmarks? Let’s get serious.

    You and I can argue about what should and should not get cut (Personally, I do not think a $23 million dollar fighter plane is going to help stop a terrorist from bringing in a dirty bomb) but I think we can both agree that some things are necessry to cut (right now) and that what ever we decide…(again, personally, I think the richest country in the world can take care of it’s aged, it’s disabled and it’s children… my opinion anyway), but…

    We have to pay for it.

  20. Eneils Bailey says:

    We have to pay for it.

    And just how long do you want to pay for people who think they have unlimited rights and absolutely no responsibilities.

    It’s not that hard…get an education…then get a job…then get married…then calculate how many and when you can have children. Personal responsibility and living within your means beats the hell out of rolling the dice on an election.

  21. tom p says:

    I guess this indicates that Obama is getting all the “Mickey Mouse” and “Denver Bronco’s” votes in every swing state.

    Once again, show me a case of documented voter fraud (as opposed to voter registration fraud)

    A prediction: Mickey Mouse will not be allowed to cast a vote in NM, and the “Denver Bronco’s” will not cast a single vote in Ohio.

    Who has money?

  22. tom p says:

    It’s not that hard…get an education…then get a job…then get married…then calculate how many and when you can have children. Personal responsibility and living within your means beats the hell out of rolling the dice on an election.

    Eneils: and then who cleans the toilets? You want to pay $30/hr for that?

    Truth is, to a degree, I agree with you, but SOMEBODY HAS TO SCRUB THE S**T OFF THE TOILETS! Now, I have heard all about the dignity of work, but how much dignity do you give the people who scrub your crusty feces off the rim? Judging from your comment above, my bet is not much.

    As far as you are concerned, the individual who has an IQ of 75 because he grew up in a tenement laced with lead paint, deserves it… because he is just too stupid.

    Meanwhile, you (or at the very least, too many who hold the same attitude) sit behind your mahogony desk, with your Columbia education, paid for with mommy and daddies money, and think, “This Janitor is not even a human being… ”

    And yet, somebody still has to scrub your crusty feces off the rim, and you still won’t pay for it. Who is the leach?

  23. brainy435 says:

    Obama spent tons of his dishonest and mostly illegal money to get people to vote early. The only thing this tells us is that that effort has succeeded. It tells us nothing about the election. For proof, I give yu:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=110308&title=poll-smoking-2006-midterm

  24. Drew says:

    Settle down, Tom P

    I started my career in the cold, hard steel mills of northwest Indiana. In 1981 of all times. I know trouble.

    The Republican party has disappointed me for years. How has that happened? In my judgement. Because Republicans have fallen into the same trap of believing that they need to provide goodies to voters, rather than lead. If they are correct, I blame the voters. If they are wrong, I blame the Republicans.

    But Barack Obama? Dissatisfaction with Republicans as a predicate for voting for every problem you are frustrated with – embodied by Barack Obama – is simply irrational.

    I watched Obama’s infomercial and shook my head. As a country we have become soft. Every problem faced by 200 hundred years of Americans is all the sudden now insurmountable, and requires a government that has proved incompetant at solving just about anything. Wow.

    We are now wimps, more interested in watching sitcoms than getting at it and solving problems. What a shame.

  25. anjin-san says:

    Personal responsibility and living within your means

    These are fine things to do. But you can do all of them, yet fall victim to a catastrophic illness or accident. And that is something that can turn a frugal, hard- working member of the middle class into a pauper in a hurry.

    What happens to that unlucky guy and his family… you give them a nice cardboard box under the freeway because you don’t want to pay for it?

  26. Floyd says:

    “”But you can do all of them, yet fall victim to a catastrophic illness or accident. And that is something that can turn a frugal, hard- working member of the middle class into a pauper in a hurry.””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    This is true, yet people who fit that description are a small percentage of pay out.
    It is, and always has been, difficult to find a diligent man in need.
    If a rational electorate were to decide to allow for every legitimate case, the number of dollars would not rise to the level of a serious burden on society.
    They have.

    So the rational argument really only goes to how much insurance should you force a man to buy so that you won’t have to personally offer him charity or watch him suffer, because governments, by their nature, and by definition, can never be capable of charity.

    Government can and should, however, govern in such a way as to offer the greatest opportunity for individual liberty and prosperity.
    What the left offers, certainly isn’t what the “governmeant”.