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Sunday, November 06, 2016


It's historic and it's not yet Tuesday

by Tom Sullivan

Final early voting totals from the NC State Board of Elections.

If North Carolina's early vote is any indicator, the national election on Tuesday may be as historic as the Cubs' World Series win last week. Forty-five percent of registered voters have already cast ballots in the 17-day early voting period. Early vote totals across the swing state are 14 percent higher than in 2012. (Population overall has risen about 4 percent since 2012.) In Wake County (Raleigh), an historic 52 percent had voted early as of yesterday. In Buncombe County (mine), 55 percent voted early, up 28 percent from 2012. Across the state, 3.2 million have already voted. (In 2012, 4.5 million had voted at the end of Election Day.) But while African American registration is up 2.6 percent from 2012, turnout in North Carolina is down from 49.7 percent.

Yet Latino voting in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina is significantly up from 2012, according to CNN.

In Florida and Nevada, races are tight, but Democrats seem to have an edge:

Democrats took a slight lead in Florida's all-important early voting period Saturday after trailing slightly on Friday, according to statistics posted by state election officials.

But the margin is hardly one to sit on, a little more than 7,000 votes out of 5.7 million cast so far. More than a million voters are not registered to either of the major parties.


Things are also looking up for Democrats in another top battleground state, Nevada, according to Dave Wasserman, who understands the numbers as well as anyone as an editor at the Cook Political Report.
Thirty-four states allow some form of early voting. Throughout the early vote period, friends have asked if I worried about the polls tightening. No, not when so many have already cast ballots. Votes cast days and weeks ago don't "tighten."

In an indication of how contested this election will be, equal percentages of Democrat and Republican registrants have cast ballots in North Carolina. However, Democrats' 650k advantage in registration makes that count for 305k more Democrats turning out. Bill Busa at Insight-us has looked at how the independent vote might affect the outcomes on Tuesday and finds a mixed bag. Independent voters are still a wild card. "It's complicated," he begins. Half of independent voters who already cast ballots voted in the March primary, so their ballot choice gives a hint to their leaning. The rest are what Busa calls Invisibles:
Without indulging in complex (and statistically dubious) mathematical imputations, the most that can probably be said of Invisibles’ partisan lean is that it is likely to be roughly the mirror image of the Visibles’. Visibles and Invisibles each comprise about a half of all unaffiliateds, so that would imply that our unaffiliated early voters as a whole (including both Visibles and Invisibles) are split pretty much right down the middle, or roughly 50% D-leaners and 50% R-leaners – as one might well expect in this too-close-to-call purple state.
If anecdotal reports from the "Cesspool of Sin" are worth anything, people under 30 are turning out late to register and vote for the first time. And at the polls they are taking Democratic sample ballots. How much same-day registration will tip the election in North Carolina is unknown for now.

In its ranking of the top six governors' races on Tuesday, the Washington Post ranks North Carolina's governorship most likely to flip. Few here, even among the business community, will be sorry to see potty-fixated Pat McCrory go.