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Swing State Early Voting Tally Swing State Early Voting Tally

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Swing State Early Voting Tally

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People stand in line to vote in the presidential election, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Miami.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

What can we glean from the early voting to this point in key swing states? Unfortunately for prognosticators, not much. Still, looking at voting trends thus far in several swing states and comparing those numbers with the 2008 early-voting numbers offers a glimpse into which way this year's voters lean. And while states don't report early-vote tallies for President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, many states do make voters register for a party when voting. Registration information is a useful indication of the which way the early electorate is voting.

Below, "Total Votes Cast" represents the number of early mail-in and in-person votes reported as of Thursday. "Party Registration Breakdown" shows the party affiliation of these early voters in states where that information is available. The "Analysis" section compares these two categories to their 2008 early-voting counterparts.

 

Note: These numbers are updated as of Nov. 5

COLORADO

Total Votes Cast: 1,640,023

 

Party Registration Breakdown: Democratic 34.6%, Republican 36.9%, None/Other 28.5%

Analysis: In 2008, registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a 1.8 percentage point margin in early voting and Obama won the state by 8.9 percentage points. In 2012, the slight percentage point advantage for registered Republicans in early voting indicates the state will be more closely contested than '08.

 

 

 

FLORIDA

Total Votes Cast: 4,469,393

Party Registration Breakdown: Democratic 42.9%, Republican 39.1%, None/Other 18.0%

Analysis: Republicans usually win mail-in early ballots by a wide margin in Florida — 12 points or higher — according to Michael McDonald, who oversees the United States Election Project at George Mason University. Democrats have closed the gap through in-person early voting. On Friday, McDonald explained that far more Democrats — 406,634 — than Republicans — 362,920 — had failed to return their mail ballots. That number could be a concern for Obama.

 

 

IOWA

Total Votes Cast: 640,248

Party Registration Breakdown: Democratic 42.3%, Republican 32.1%, None/Other 25.6%

Analysis: Romney has narrowed the strong lead the Democrats built — 18 percentage points — in 2008 early Iowa voting. But Obama went on to win the state by 9.5 percentage points in ’08, meaning Romney will still need strong Election Day results to take the state. The GOP has done well on Election Day in Iowa in the past. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry, D-Ma., was leading in early voting, but former President Bush took the state on Election Day.

 

 

NEVADA

Total Votes Cast: 701,845

Party Registration Breakdown: Democratic 43.9%, Republican 37.0%, None/Other 19.1%

Analysis: According to McDonald, Nevada’s 2012 early electorate closely resembles the state’s 2008 electorate. Obama won the state by 12.2 percentage points in 2008, and early indications are he’ll win it again in 2012.

 

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Total Votes Cast: 2,738,922

Party Registration Breakdown: Democratic 47.7%, Republican 31.4%, None/Other 20.9%

Analysis: At this point in 2008, Democrats had a crushing lead among early voters — 55.9 percent to 27.2 percent — and Obama only narrowly won the state by 0.3 percentage points. Romney has closed that gap enough that the data indicate a small lead for him in the state.

 

 

OHIO

Total Votes Cast: 1,665,089

Party Registration Breakdown: State does not do party registration.

Analysis: Since Ohio reports votes county-by-county, it is difficult to ascertain general trends in state-wide early voting patterns. Perhaps the only safe assumption is that Ohio will be tightly contested, as predicted through the election. 

 

 

VIRGINIA

Total Votes Cast: 357,415

Party Registration Breakdown: State does not do party registration.

Analysis: Early 2012 voting in Virginia has skewed heavily toward females and the 60-plus demographic. Unlike 2008, the state is allowing in-person early voting in addition to early ballots by mail, meaning early-vote totals have exceeded ’08’s total of 336,743.

 

 

WISCONSIN

Total Votes Cast: 256,277 (in-person only)

Party Registration Breakdown: State does not do party registration.

Analysis: Wisconsin does not have comparable statistics from 2008, so little can be determined about which way the state is leaning in 2012 as compared to the 2008 election.

 

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