Early Voting Update

The votes continue to roll in from around the country from early voting and absentee ballots.  While we don’t have any results, we do have some clues on what might be happening.

The numbers in this blog come from a website run by Dr. Michael McDonald of George Mason University in Virginia, who has been tracking early voting for a number of years.  He gets data – both public and private – from states, and puts it up on his website.

Overall, almost nine million votes have been cast so far in 2010.  Luckily, some states give out data on party registration of those voters, which gives a few hints on turnout.

Two years ago, Democrats had an edge in many states, a precursor to the sweeping wins for Democrats in the 2008 Elections.  This year, the edge in some states goes to the GOP – maybe foreshadowing a good day for Republicans.

For example, in Colorado, of the close to half million early votes cast so far, 41.7% have come from Republicans and 36% from Democrats.  Compare that to 2008, when Democrats had 37.7% of the ballots and the GOP had 35.9%.

One note – I know that comparing 2008 and 2010 – a Presidential election and a mid-term election – is probably not an apples to apples comparison.  But to me, it helps to measure the Democratic enthusiasm of two years ago against the GOP enthusiasm of this year.

Florida is another good example.  In 2008, Democrats had 45.6% of the early votes, while Republicans were at 37.3%.

In 2010, Republicans have cast 51.8% of the early votes so far, while Democrats are at 34.5%.

That seems to be a pretty good clue on enthusiasm.  It may not tell us who is going to win for sure, but it gives us some hints as to who is excited about going to the polls.

Next, let’s go to Iowa, where in 2008, Democrats had 46.9% of the early votes to 28.9% for Republicans.

In 2010, Democrats still have the edge in Iowa, with 45.2% of the votes so far, while Republicans are at 38.1%.  The GOP has narrowed the gap considerably.

Another interesting state is Nevada, especially with the Senate race there involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  There are basically two big counties in Nevada – Clark County around Las Vegas and Washoe County around Reno.  Clark is the largest by far.

In 2010, the early votes in Clark County are going 45.7% Democratic to 38.3% Republican.

In 2008, the early votes in Clark County went 52% for Democrats to 30.6% Republican.

In Washoe County, NV this year, Republicans lead with 45.8% of votes to 40.2% for Democrats.

In 2008, the early votes in Washoe County were actually in favor of Democrats, 47.1% to 35.3% for GOP voters.

Those figures definitely show more Republicans casting ballots in early voting.  It certainly doesn’t mean they are all voting Republican for Sharron Angle, but you would think most of them are.

How about another important state, New Mexico, where Republicans are trying to win the Governor’s race and sweep all three races in the U.S. House.

In 2008, when Democrats won all three House races, the state’s largest county, Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) saw early votes cast 52.7% by Democrats to 32.8% by Republican voters.

This year in Bernalillo County so far, Democrats have a very small edge of the early votes cast, 45.5% to 44.2% for Republican voters.  That GOP boost could have big consequences in the Governor’s race, and in the three House races in New Mexico.

Some states do not report that type of partisan data, like Ohio, which only gives numbers on how many early votes have been cast in certain counties.  But we know who has the edge most likely in those counties, so that allows us to look a little deeper.

Two counties, Cuyahoga and Franklin have big edges in Democratic voting numbers, so those are good to look at for this year and the last election.

So far this year, 134,913 votes are in (early) from Cuyahoga County – in 2008, the final number was 252,629, just over a quarter of a million.  That’s an interesting figure, because Barack Obama won Cuyahoga County by 250,000 votes.

In Franklin County, 109,072 votes are in compared to 207,243 in all for 2008.  Two years ago, Obama won Franklin County by 100,000 votes.

In other words, the turnout doesn’t look like it will match that of 2008 in the Buckeye State, at least in early voting from those two key Democratic counties.

How about out in Washington State, where a good county to watch is King County/Seattle.  In 2008, there were 316,995 early votes from King County.  So far in 2010, the total is 222,000 – so Democrats seem to be doing well out there, more than 2/3rds of the way to the 2008 figure.

That might be good news for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) when Election Night arrives.

I know, I know, this was too many numbers, data that makes your head swim.  Well, welcome to my Election Coverage for 2010.
Jamie Dupree will be taking phone calls and discussing the elections on Friday October 29 on the last two hours of the Neal Boortz show, live from 11am to 1pm EDT. Also, listen live for Jamie on Election Night starting at 11pm.