Election Night Clip ‘N Save

I hope I remember this post 30 days from now (I’m not kidding).  On election night EVERYONE will be hanging on every anecdotal data from morning turnout lines to unusual voting patterns in swing precincts or any tea leaf they can read to glean how the Presidential race is falling.  One of the real “tells” in national election watching are the seemingly competitive races down the ballot.  If a safe incumbent is suddenly in trouble, that will lead observers to talk up the chances of the challenger’s party.  On the other hand when a competitive race is called early, poll watchers extrapolate that to Presidential prospects. Roll Call put together 10 down ballot races in states with early voting (i.e. votes are counted in advance) that may be good “tells” on election night regarding the prospects of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I’m only blogging the five that could impact the Presidential campaign but Roll Call has one for North Carolina, Arizona, North Dakota, California and Illinois:

Nevada Senate and 3rd district
Early voting starts Oct. 20

Democrats estimate two-thirds of the Silver State’s votes will be cast early this cycle. Accordingly, the president’s campaign is targeting the state’s Latino population – which is rapidly growing but often an unreliable bloc at the polls – to cast early ballots. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) hopes to reap the benefits in her competitive race against appointed Sen. Dean Heller (R).

Similarly, operatives expect between 50 percent to 60 percent of the population to vote early in the competitive 3rd district race between Rep. Joe Heck (R) and state Speaker John Oceguera (D). The district covers the southern portion of Clark County, where 60 percent of those who voted cast their ballots early in the 2008 elections.

Ohio’s 16th district
Early voting starts Oct. 2

This is the most competitive House district in the most fought-over state in the presidential campaign. Every vote counts in the matchup between Reps. Jim Renacci (R) and Betty Sutton (D).

Outside groups descended on the district early, and Renacci has been on the air since late August. So it’s curious that Sutton’s camp has not started its own ad campaign, given that voters start heading to the polls Tuesday. Sutton’s first ad buy is for Oct. 17, but Democrats say she will start earlier than that date.

The campaigns will be watching early vote totals in southern Cuyahoga County, which accounts for about half of the redrawn district’s population. A strong early vote there could mean a victory for Sutton – and a poor turnout may signal Renacci’s likely return to Congress.

Iowa’s 3rd district
Early voting started Sept. 27

Voters are already casting early ballots (mostly absentee) in this marquee Member-vs.-Member race between Reps. Tom Latham (R) and Leonard Boswell (D).

Twice as many 3rd district Democrats as Republicans have returned their ballots so far, according to preliminary figures from the Secretary of State. But Democrats have also requested more than three times as many ballots – 32,300 – as the GOP.

Boswell’s team expects about a third of his supporters to vote early – the same as his 2010 tally. The Latham campaign declined to divulge their early voter targets, noting – correctly – that Republicans traditionally prefer to vote on Election Day in Iowa.

Colorado’s 6th district
Early voting starts Oct. 22

The state has a permanent mail-in voter list, and residents are taking full advantage of it. About 75 percent of voters opt to receive their ballots via mail, according to local operatives, who estimate an additional 10 percent will vote early in person.

The percentage of people signed up for the mail-in voter list is slightly lower in rural areas. So this suburban House battle between Rep. Mike Coffman (R) and state Rep. Joe Miklosi (D) is ground

Florida’s 18th district
Early voting starts Oct. 27

Early voting is important in every competitive Florida House race because of the state’s large absentee ballot and minority populations.

But early ballots matter especially in the 18th district: Rep. Allen West (R) is currently a slight favorite over businessman Patrick Murphy (D). Absentee ballot operations are key because of the large “snowbird” population north of West Palm Beach. There’s a sense of urgency among Republicans to have these older voters cast their ballots early, even though these part-time residents don’t typically head south for the winter until after Nov. 6.


  1. margaret
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What I’m really dreading are the exit polls because the MSM pollsters release very deceiving numbers. I’m thinking back to 2000 (and also the early FL call) and 2004. The exit polls were horrendous, until the real numbers started to roll in.

  2. Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink | Reply

    after 2000 most have moved away from broadcasting exits until polls are closed in those areas. Such as the northeast they will start blasting exists 30 seconds after they close.

    To me the stories that will be the tell are the during the day MSM stories. IE in 2004 it was vote intimidation, lack of ballots, provisions, (ie Republicans stealing the election)…2008 all day it was long long lines everywhere, peaceful no real signs of trouble, cleanest election ever (Obama huge).

    If the stories in swing states are about rampant intimidation, cheating, voter suppression that is a sign at least circumstantially speaking then to me that is a sign the msm is starting a possible cover story for a loss or at the very least a much closer race than they predicted.

    My gut says right out of the gate if Romney can take New Hampshire…it’s going to be a good night. If Romney cant take Ohio then he HAS to have florida, NC, Vir, Wiscon, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada…that is a tall tall order

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