Everyone in the political world is trying to figure out who is going to win on Election Day, so what better to whet your appetite than some data from states about early voting.
This material comes from a professor at George Mason University in Virginia who specializes in early voting, as Dr. Michael McDonald runs a web site that posts early voting data, some of which includes a breakdown by party of who is voting.
For example in Florida, almost 800,000 votes are already in, and when you look at the party breakdown, you see that 52.8% of the ballots are in from Republicans to 33.7% for Democrats.
I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that GOP votes are coming in at a 19% higher clip than the Democrats in Florida.
Go back two years, when the Democrats did very well in Florida with Barack Obama at the top of the ballot, and you will see that Democrats had an 8% edge in early voting in the Sunshine State.
So if the current numbers hold on, then the GOP would have a 27-point swing in their favor in early voting numbers.
Does that sound like something we’ve been calling the “enthusiasm gap?”
Granted, just because one party votes doesn’t mean that party is getting all those votes. But McDonald says it’s not too far off.
“People who self-identify with a particular party, who register with a particular party, are much more likely to vote for that party,” McDonald said in an interview.
“It gives you some clues, but of course, it’s not a definitive end-all to what the election outcome is going to be,” he added.
Some states don’t publicly post such data, so McDonald has been able to figure out a number of ways to get access to it, like in Georgia, which has had over 300,000 votes come in so far via early voting and absentee.
Other states publish a bevy of information, like California, which makes you wish they just ran a scoreboard of all votes every day, so we could watch this dern election like a football scoreboard for a full month.
As for some data from key states, Republicans are doing well in Colorado, where 41.8% of early votes have come in from the GOP, versus 36.5% for Democrats and 21% for Independents.
Compare that to 2008, when Democrats had 37.7% of the early votes, Republicans had 35.9% and Independents were at 26.4%.
In Nevada, where Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is fighting hard against Republican Sharron Angle, Republicans have 42.5% of the early votes to 42.4% for Democrats, with Independents at 15%.
In that state, there are two big counties, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which is where Reno is located.
In Clark County, Democrats have the edge in early votes at 46.5% to 37.8% for the GOP. In 2008, the spread was 52-30% for the Dems.
In Washoe County, Republicans have the edge in early votes at 46.2% to 40% for the Democrats. In 2008, Democrats had the edge in early votes from Washoe County, 47.1-35.3%.
As for bright spots for Democrats, in Iowa they have a 45.9-38.1% edge in early votes.
And in Ohio, while there are not numbers broken down by party affiliation, big numbers of votes are already in from two Democratic strongholds, Cuyahoga County around Cleveland and Franklin County around Columbus.
Put this site on your favorites and keep checking it over the next eight days. I love stats, and this is a good one: