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Sunday, October 23, 2016


Turnout, turnout, turnout

by Tom Sullivan

Democrats prospects for winning the Senate improved markedly in recent days, according to Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight:

Thanks to big shifts in several key races, Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast, and a 72 percent chance according to polls-only. Both those numbers are up by more than 15 percentage points from last week, when the polls-plus model gave them a 56 percent chance and the polls-only model 54 percent.
That report is a couple of days old. That has slipped to 69 percent since then.

Real Clear Politics predicts Democrats will pick up Indiana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Illinois for a 50-50 tie. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Katie McGinty holds a narrow lead in FiveThirtyEight's rankings.

Eric Levitz has a rundown on the current state of competitive seats at New York magazine. Regarding North Carolina, he writes,"incumbent Republican Richard Burr retains an advantage over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross. But Ross is gaining ground. And early voting in the Tarheel State suggests Republican turnout may be down significantly from where it was in 2012."

More about North Carolina in a minute. Levitz concludes, unsurprisingly:
Ultimately, turnout could be the decisive factor in all of these races. The central hope of every anxious GOP operative is that, eventually, Trump’s collapse will actually redound to the benefit of down-ballot Republicans. The idea being that Americans will vote for a check on President Clinton, out of a misguided belief that divided government would produce compromise, instead of dysfunctional gridlock.
Early voting commenced in North Carolina on Thursday. Early numbers indicate no "enthusiasm gap." There were long lines at voting stations across the state:
Dr. Michael Bitzer at Old North State blog summarizes the first two days of voting:

Demographic and party shifts are changing how the state votes. A majority of registered voters indicate they were born outside the state. Bitzer writes:

In comparison to four years ago, the total number of absentee ballots (both mail-in and in-person) is down about 3 percent (501,651 compared to 2012's cumulative total of 513,188 on the same day out from Election Day), but there are significant shifts in party registration numbers within those totals.
A reporter from Die Welt asked me yesterday about Trump's field game. He asked me why I laughed. Here's why:
The Democrats have 27 field offices in North Carolina compared with 11 for the Republicans, according to the FiveThirtyEight political blog and by my own count. (Nationally, the Democrats have 489 field offices while the Republicans have 207 offices.)


The Democrats also seem to have far more staff operatives in the state, with staff even working in such small but Democratic-leaning areas as Bertie County in the northeast. Democrats say there are more than 150 staffers in the state with some 40,000 volunteers.

“This is a ground game that is as robust as we have seen since 2008,” said Brad Crone, a veteran Democratic consultant. “There is no comparison between what the Democrats have done with their field plan and what the Republicans have done.”
Deborah Ross, down 2.8 points to incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the RCP Average, will need that turnout advantage to pull out a win in North Carolina on Election Day. No matter how favorable the early voting numbers look for Democrats, no matter how it appears they have run up the score, one always has to remember Republicans bat last.

Anecdotally, the GOP here is in disarray. One of the drivers who resupplies Democratic poll greeters here throughout the day reported speaking briefly with a GOP volunteer outside an early voting site on Saturday. The man said he was there for a couple of hours and that was all for this cycle. It was his only shift. Our driver told him he was scheduled for four hours, and then for several other days during early voting.

"That sounds like a lot of work," the Republican volunteer said.

As Yoda might say, "That is why you fail."