Tag Archives: early voting

Ohio Early Vote Update

Iowa Early Vote

Trying to drill down on Romney’s standing with Independents versus Bush’s standing at the same point, but this is a good sign:

I’m hearing that Bush lost Iowa Independents by 1-point while in Iowa polling Romney typically leads among Independents by 5-7 points making his hurdle slightly lower to clear.

Republicans Erase Obama Early Vote Advantage

Apologies to everyone, but I’m working remotely (again).  The lower Manhattan Verizon network is down so my home computer is useless. Even my much delayed wrap up of Clark County, Nevada is on hold.  Thankfully the below write-up by Rick Klein gives the macro view from Nevada which is very good for the GOP although I believe all parties were hopeful for an even better showing. Early voting was Obama’s real secret weapon in 2008 but in state after state that advantage is getting wiped away making election day all the more precarious to his re-election chances.  Our own David Ramos has done an amazing job breaking down ColoradoRick Klein takes a look at Nevada and Florida and other Battlegrounds as we inch closer to November 6 …. one more day! … one more day! … one more day!

Nevada

Take a look at the key battleground state of Nevada, for example, where early and absentee voting made up about 67 percent of the total votes cast in the state in 2008. Democrats outperformed Republicans in early voting that year by a little less than 12 percentage points, 47.6 percent of the early votes cast came from registered Democrats, while 35.8 percent came from registered Republicans. This year, that gap has narrowed to roughly 7 points, with registered Democrats accounting for 43.9 percent of the votes cast already, and Republicans making up 37 percent, according to figures from the United States Election Project.

Florida

In Florida in 2008, registered Democrats cast 44.9 percent of the early votes, while registered Republicans only cast 37.9 percent. This year, that gap is down as well. Registered Democrats have accounted for 42.6 percent of the early vote, registered Republicans 39.5 percent.

Nationwide

Across the board, in 2008, Democrats held an 11 percentage point advantage over Republicans going into Election Day in the battleground states where party registration was available, but this year, that gap has been cut down to about a6 point advantage, according to one GOP official.

To cannibal or not to cannibal

One of the reasons for Republican gains in early voting has to do with an improved get-out-the-vote operation (commonly referred to as “GOTV”) from 2008. In 2008, Republicans had a weaker operation than Democrats. This year, Republicans amped up their game, targeting “low-propensity” voters, or people who, when they vote, vote Republican, but have not consistently turned out in elections. “If you live in Ohio and Iowa, for example, and you’re a low-propensity Republican voter, you voted in a primary or you’re registered Republicans but you’ve missed some, what you’re going to get form the Romney campaign and the RNC is somebody coming to your door with an absentee ballot, you’re going to get mail that has absentee-ballot request forms,” Republican National Committee  spokesman Tim Miller said.

Minding the gap doesn’t mean victory

From a simple mathematical standpoint, however, Democrats are ahead in the vote count in four out of the five battleground states that offer in-person early voting and register voters by a political party: Nevada, Iowa, Florida and North Carolina.

Firewall lacks clarity

The key Midwestern states that permit in-person early voting – Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin – do not register by party affiliation, so it is impossible to make any definitive statement about which party is ahead in the vote count. Those three states have been identified as a kind of Electoral College firewall for Obama that offers him a path to 270 electoral votes even if he loses in all of the other battleground states

Florida Early Vote Results … More Bad News for Obama

It bears reminding in every early vote update, Barack Obama had incredible advantages in 2008 that propelled him to victory.  In state after state that lead is not only diminished this year but strong GOP gains often mitigate Obama’s entire final election day margin.  Florida is only the latest example.  Obama won Florida in 2008 by 236,148 votes:

Republicans Early Voting Strong in Colorado — David Ramos

Another dispatch from reader David Ramos:

Final totals on early voting in Colorado from the Secretary of State’s office:

Total ballots cast – 1,640,023
Total Republican voters – 605,586
Total Democratic voters – 567,569
Total Unaffiliated (Independent) voters – 449,720
Total third party voters – 17,148

In the swing counties

Arapahoe County – Republicans lead by 1,327
Jefferson County – Republicans lead by 6,602
Larimer County – Republicans lead by 7,004

In the strong Democratic counties

Denver – Democrats lead by 68,736
Boulder – Democrats lead by 11,488
Adams – Democrats lead by 11,416
Pueblo – Democrats lead by 10,702

In the strong Republican counties

El Paso – Republicans lead by 45,204
Douglas – Republicans lead by 39,166
Mesa – Republicans lead by 14,183
Weld – Republicans lead by 12,600

What the numbers mean:

The Democrats – Their GOTV effort need to run up their totals in their strong counties. If there’s a surprise in the EV numbers, it’s from Boulder County. In the state, Boulder is commonly referred to as the “People’s Republic of Boulder.” For Democrats to be ahead only by 11,488, it may be a sign the more extreme elements of the Democrat party are disappointed with Obama.

The Republicans – If they’ve saved their turnout for Election Day, they need to run up their totals in El Paso County – we’re talking at least a 65-35 split. The best margin of victory ever was Bush 43 in 2004 where he won El Paso County 75-25. Douglas County has a strong Libertarian bent, but are reliably Republican in their voting pattern.

The Unaffiliateds (Independents) – They have the key to victory. It would be safe to assume unaffiliateds in strong Democratic areas to identify and vote closer to the Democratic side, and unaffiliateds in strong Republican areas to identify and vote closer to the Republican side. The unaffiliated voter bloc to watch will be in the swing counties of Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Larimer.

Total unaffiliated (independent) early voters – swing counties

Arapahoe – 48,625
Jefferson – 60,600
Larimer – 37,485

If they split along the same percentages as the R/D pairing in these counties, this is what you would see:

Arapahoe – 24,546 voted Republican
Jefferson – 31,666 voted Republican
Larimer – 20,381 voted Republican

The Republican lean among unaffiliated voters in these three swing counties is averaging 52-48 in favor of Romney.

Based on these numbers, the early voting pattern is showing Romney is doing what he needs to do to carry Colorado: mind the gap – especially in the swing counties, lead among independent voters, and increase his margin in solid Republican areas.  Please note these totals only reflect those ballots cast on voting machines at EV sites. Mail-in and absentee ballots are counted on election night.  Hope this gives a better view of how Colorado stands heading into election day.

— David Ramos

David Axelrod Has No Response To Ohio Early Vote Numbers

Remember, Obama’s entire margin of victory came from Ohio early voting in 2008. John McCain got more votes on election day than Barack Obama:

Colorado: State of the race, early voting and polls — By David Ramos

Here is a guest post by one of our readers:

Readers expressed concern on the state of the presidential race in Colorado – particularly after reading a Denver Post article suggesting Obama is leading in early voting despite Republicans voting in greater numbers than their Democratic counterparts. To address those concerns, below is an overview on polling and voting dynamics in Colorado.

Though Colorado’s demographics have changed the past few years, especially with the influx of people from the west coast moving into the state. Most have resettled in the Denver suburbs located in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. Changes in voting patterns in those two counties began to change in 2004. Despite those changes, Bush 43 comfortably won those counties in 2004 albeit by a narrower margin compared to 2000. The bulk of Democratic votes in the state come from Denver, Boulder, and Adams counties, and Pueblo county in the southern part of the state. To win statewide, both parties rely on the independent (unaffiliated) voters to provide the margin of victory.

Through Friday morning, early voting in Colorado has the Republicans with a narrow lead:

Total number of ballots cast – 1,462,163

Republicans voting – 547,150
Democrats voting –  509,091
Unaffiliated (independent) voting – 390,875
Third party voting – 15,047

In three swing counties considered crucial to the Romney campaign, there is evidence suggesting he’s likely to be ahead:

Jefferson County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 6,160.
Larimer County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 4,624.
Arapahoe County – Republican ballots lead Democrats by 3,209.

These numbers do not include those absentee and mail-in ballots that have been returned. The total number of registered voters is approximately 3.6 million.

Colorado, as a whole is a difficult state to gauge. While voters may be willing to vote Republican at one level, they’re willing to turn around and vote Democratic at another. Floyd Ciruli, who polled for Gary Hart, said this is what makes Colorado voters unpredictable, and polling them especially difficult. In 2004, while it was clear Colorado voters were willing to re-elect Bush 43, voters turned around voted in the Democrats into the majority in the state legislature. While many national polls suggested Colorado was tied at 48, Ciruli said Bush 43 was never in danger of losing the state – he would win by a narrower margin (which he did 52-48).

Other examples of an unpredictable Colorado electorate are:

In 2002, when incumbent Republican US Senator Wayne Allard was running for re-election, many pollsters (national and local) considered Allard to be roadkill. Allard won re-election by a comfortable 5-point margin.
In 1996, polling indicated Clinton would carry the state. When Dole carried the state, it was considered to be quite a surprise.
In 1992, Perot had siphoned away votes from Bush 41 to allow Clinton to carry the state with only 43% of the vote. Bush 41 was expected to carry the state by a razor thin margin.

In 2004, the Kerry campaign and the DNC began to organize large voter registration drives, in conjunction with ACORN, to develop a more friendly voter base in hopes of carrying the state. Despite the effort, they were unable to register enough Democratic voters to flip the state. If 2004 taught the Democrats anything, it was to begin the voter drives earlier and have them more often. In 2008, the Obama campaign and the DNC, again with help from ACORN, organized the voter drives, registering large numbers of voters (I want to say around 100,000 new voters, but am unsure of the total) particularly in the Denver metro area.

In 2008, Obama established a 40-33 lead in early voting over McCain. The lead was evaporated by the end of the early voting period. The McCain campaign, however, was poorly organized in Colorado. Voter contact (phone, in-person, robo-call) was quite limited, TV and radio advertising was less than half than Bush 43 levels in 2004. Even direct mail was substantially less than Obama. The campaign stops weren’t many – may be five or six total. You knew McCain was going lose. While Obama was better organized, McCain lost Colorado by being an uncompetitive candidate. Independents were willing to give Obama a chance, voting for him by a 9-point margin. Moreover, enough Republican voters stayed home to cement McCain’s loss.

With the changing demographics in Colorado, Ciruli indicated that for Republicans to be successful, they need to keep the margins close in Democratic and swing areas (minding the gap), win a simple majority of independents, and run their vote totals up elsewhere in the state – particularly in the Republican strongholds of Colorado Springs (El Paso County) and Grand Junction (Mesa County) must be carried by at least a 65-35 margin. Colorado is largely a conservative state outside the Denver metro area. For Democrats to be successful, Ciruli said they need to carry the solid Democratic areas by large margins, run even on independents, and hope they have enough total votes at the end.

In 2008, Obama won independents 54-46. In the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction areas, McCain won 55-45. In the Democratic and swing areas, McCain did little to keep those margins close. Clearly, McCain’s poor effort gave Colorado to the Obama column.

Seeing how Bush 43 ran his 2000 and 2004 campaigns, the Romney team built their campaign in the state along similar lines. That is, identify and develop their reliable voter base, then expand upon it. While polling suggested Colorado was slightly leaning Obama or even, the reality was/is it’s not the case. The independents in Colorado are deeply dissatisfied with Obama. Those that voted for Obama see him as a bait-and-switch politician. Though initially hesitant of Romney, the first debate at DU (University of Denver) was more than enough to convince them to vote for Romney. Whether it’s enough to flip it back to the Republican column, the early voting numbers and strong rallies suggest it may.

I hope this gives you a flavor of how things are unfolding in Colorado.

— David Ramos

Obama Campaign Acknowledges Early Vote Might Be Cannibalized

This is huge.  I’ve avoided this topic because quite honestly I don’t really trust the data.  But Major Garrett has yet another incredible scoop direct from the Obama campaign.  Guys, if this is true  . . . we’re going to really like November 6:

 

Senator Sharon Angle Agrees With Nate Silver: Barack Obama has an 84% Chance of Winning

Nate Silver has his usual spin on outrageously absurd election outcome odds:

President Obama is now better than a 4-in-5 favorite to win the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances of winning it increased to 83.7 percent on Friday, his highest figure since the Denver debate and improved from 80.8 percent on Thursday.

He shows a bunch of polls from a murder’s row of bad polling where Obama is leading and maps out three arguments where they could be wrong.  After arguing and dismissing the first two he concludes:

That leaves only the final source of polling error, which is the potential that the polls might simply have been wrong all along because of statistical bias.

You don’t say!

The FiveThirtyEight forecast accounts for this possibility…I do not mean to imply that the polls are biased in Mr. Obama’s favor. But there is the chance that they could be biased in either direction…My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Silver makes such pronouncements with outlandish statistical weights as if it is nearly unbelievable that the poll results could be wrong.  One of the main purposes of this blog was to look at the exact same polls, analyze the internal data and test whether the poll data match up with the poll results.  We found that time after time after time the results unequivocally do not match up with the internal data.  Thanks to Sean Davis, we are reminded this was the identical situation only 2 years ago is probably the highest profile race where a deeply unpopular Senate Majority leader was behind in nearly every poll yet still won.

Out of 14 polls between October 1 and election day, Sharon Angle led in 12 of those polls.  Her average lead on election day according to Real Clear Politics was +2.6.  She lost by -5.6 points — an 8.2 point swing.  The polls were not just wrong, but WAY wrong.  Could anyone analyzing the internals of these polls see this?  Why yes they could. But even in the highest profile contest of the cycle, almost no one did such an analysis. The few who did, Democrat pollster Mark Mellman, Republican pollster Glen Bolger and liberal reporter/columnist Jon Ralston, all consistently said the polls were wrong — and each was largely ignored until proven correct on election day.  Why did they know this?  Because they looked at the data in the polls and said the internal information does not reflect the top-line results and the Nevada electorate on election day will not reflect what these polls are indicating. They were right and the polls were wrong … by A LOT.

Today we have an identical dichotomy where the stat gurus like Nate Silver say Obama has an 84% chance of winning because that is what the top-line poll numbers tell him.  Nate Silver called the Nevada Senate race incorrectly because the poll data was wrong.  His accuracy is predicated on accurate polls.  Mountains of evidence says today’s Presidential polls are equally as wrong as the Nevada Senate polls.

Critics of the polls on the Right, like myself, of whom even Silver concedes offer “intellectually coherent” critiques say the results on November 6 will be very different. Maybe Nate Silver is correct and Barack Obama will be re-elected President on November 6.  But any analysis of the data in those same state polls he relies on says the voting preference of Independents, the increased turnout of Republicans, the decreased turnout of Democrats, the change in favor of Republicans in early voting, Romney’s favorability on the election’s top issue (economy) and numerous other factors will result in President Romney on November 6.  United States Senator Sharon Angle from Nevada may disagree.

Washoe County Final Day Closes Strong, GOP Ahead by a Nose

In a nearly dead even final day, the GOP cast five more ballots than the Democrats in Washoe County. Total ballots cast were 14,234 by far the largest of the cycle as expected. Republicans cast 5348 while Democrats cast 5343. The Independent/Other category definitely made their presence felt casting 3543 ballots. With this being the final day it seems more instructive to look at the aggregate totals and compare them to the 2008 results.  Although Democrats carried the in-person early vote by 641 ballots, most everything else about this performance was bad news.  Of the three groups only the Democrats had a lower turnout than 2008 bolstering the argument of reduced enthusiasm for the party. At the same time their differential over Republicans was 11,337 fewer than the 2008 margin. Republicans increased their ballots cast 8485 and 4.5pp of the overall total. The Independent/Other segment increased its vote total 4270 ballots and 2.3pp of the overall total.  As was the trend throughout the early voting, the increased Independent/Other vote may well be the deciding factor in Washoe County and the state as a whole. Republicans still lead in the aggregate early voting count thanks to absentee voting and mail-in ballots although they had hoped to add to this lead by greater performances from in-person balllots.

Contrast between 2012 and 2008 in-person early voting

2012 Final Tally 2008 Final Tally
Dem – 45043 (40.4%) Dem – 47895 (47.1%)
GOP -44402 (39.8%) GOP – 35917 (35.3%)
NP – 22062 (19.8%) NP – 17792 (17.5%)

Overall we see that 2012 had little relation to 2008 in that the competition was far stiffer this time around with Republicans giving as good as they were getting. Although hopes for a Washoe win from in-person voting were dashed due to strong late performances by Democrats, the full cycle performance was stellar especially when contrasted to a woeful 2008.

2012 Early Vote Trendlines by Party

2008 Early Vote Trendlines by Party

Democrats Not Going Down Without a Fight in Clark County Early Voting

To be the champ you have to beat the champ and if Republicans win in Nevada they will have earned it. Democrat enthusiasm may not be what was statewide in 2008 but the Clark County machine is getting the job done for Democrats.  The trend is not the friend of Republicans right now but the biggest day of early voting is still left. Questions will remain unknown until election day regarding cannibalizing high propensity voters but thus far Democrats have answered the bell in Clark County early voting.  On Thursday Democrats cast 15,675 ballots compared to Republicans who cast 9979 ballots for a 5696 net gain. These types of wins are a big deal for Democrats because they are underperforming everywhere else in the state.  The Independent/Other vote held pace with the Thursday upswing casting 6956 ballots.  Overall there was a 16% day-over-day increase in activity.  With Democrats performing strongly, albeit below their 2008 margin, winning the Independent vote grows increasingly important in Clark County and across the state.

 

 

Another Day, Another Washoe County Win for Republicans in Early Voting

For the fourth consecutive day Republicans outpaced Democrats in Washoe County in-person early voting.  Republicans cast 3613 votes for a 39.4% share while Democrats cast 3429 ballots for a 37.4%.  The expected Thursday ramp-up increased turnout 19% over the Thursday result with 9162 ballots cast. Republicans now trail in-person early voting by 646 ballots. But the net gain of 184 ballots extends Republicans overall lead with the combined absentee and mail-in early ballots.  The aggregate Washoe lead now stands at 375 more ballots cast by Republicans than Democrats, a far cry from the 12k advantage Democrats enjoyed in 2008.  Washoe’s going red people … get used to it.  If Romney is winning a majority of the Independent vote and the Clark GOP keeps its close . . .

Big contrast in the running tallies

2012 thru Day 12 2008 Through Day 12
Dem – 39700 (40.9%) Dem – 43357 (47.86%)
GOP – 39054 (40.3%)
GOP – 31711 (34.99%)
NP – 18202 (18.8%) NP – 15570 (17.18%)

We see the election over election change in Democrat turnout is down -3657 ballots while the change in GOP turnout is up +7343, a net 11,000 gain for the GOP versus 2008. The enthusiasm gap continues to grow in Washoe County and Democrats are on the run in Reno. Having erased Obama’s early vote advantage, this type of swing will go a long way to erasing Obama’s overall ~23k vote Washoe County win in 2008, half of which came from the early vote.

Clark County Wednesday Early Vote — Last Gasp for Democrats?

Democrats have long been expected to win Clark County early voting by large margins.  The story of early voting thus far has been unexpected reduced enthusiasm among Democrats, Republicans resurgence off low 2008 totals and the rise of Indepedent/Other party support.  The Wednesday early vote appeared to be Democrats last chance to bury the GOP in all-important Clark County and that didn’t happen.

Ahead of the vote, one hell of a source whispered in my ear: The locations Wednesday rotate into some bad areas for Republicans but some decent ones back on Thurs and Friday.  If the GOP can hold the Obama campaign to a spread of between 5000-6000 tomorrow the GOP should look pretty good going into the final early voting days.

Well, yesterday’s margin was 4159, well below the expected blood-bath and below the “good” level locals were hoping for.  So great job to Team Nevada and now get after it these last two days.  Overall Democrats cast 13083 ballots only 88% the 2012 weekday average.  Republicans cast 8924 ballots, 90% of the 2012 weekday average.  And Independents/Other cast 6017 ballots, 105% of the 2012 weekday average.  Thursday and Friday are expected to be the big turnout days in early voting although there may have been some early pull-forward of ballots this cycle.

2012 thru Day 12 2008 Through Day 12
Dem – 171368 (48.16%) Dem – 163777 (52.98%)
GOP -116991 (32.88%) GOP – 93014 (30.09%)
NP – 67487 (18.97%) NP – 52341 (16.93%)

We see the election over election change in Democrat turnout is barely above the 2008 turnout +7591 and dropping daily. The change in GOP turnout is UP +23,988, a net 16,386 gain for the GOP versus 2008.

Three-in-a-Row in Washoe County for Team Nevada

Another strong day for the GOP up north casting 3128 ballots compared to 2841 for the Democrats.  Total ballots cast were 7679, down about 1300 day-over-day supporting the evolving story that the expected second week blow-out was not in the cards after the strong first week performance. Despite the muted second week performance thus far the final two days should will almost certainly see a nice pick-up in activity.  Most concerning is the Democrats performance since this is their strength and enthusiasm questions continue to mount.  Although in my count, today’s net gain for the GOP only shrinks the Democrat lead to 830 for in-person early voting, this net gain nearly erases the overall lead Democrats held going into today when including absentee and mail-in ballots.  An all-around great day for Team Nevada in Washoe County.

Big contrast in the running tallies

2012 thru Day 12 2008 Through Day 12
Dem – 36271 (41.3%) Dem – 38329 (48.89%)
GOP -35441 (40.3%) GOP – 26913 (34.37%)
NP – 16082 (18.3%) NP – 13161 (16.79%)

We see the election over election change in Democrat turnout is DOWN -2058 while the change in GOP turnout is UP +8528, a net 10,586 gain for the GOP versus 2008. Do you know what an enthusiasm gap looks like? Well now you do. Having erased Obama’s early vote advantage, this type of swing will go a long way to erasing Obama’s overall ~23k vote Washoe County win in 2008, half of which came from the early vote.

Early Ballots, Youth Vote and Cannibals

Karl Rove has his usual data driven column in the Wall Street Journal that sheds great light on both the national picture and most importantly the Battleground State of Ohio.  Since this blog is all about the Battlegrounds and only the Battlegrouds we will focus on that portion of the column. Rove hits on three key issues that will likely decide the Ohio vote. First, in 2008 President Obama lost the election day vote in Ohio to John McCain but banked so many votes in early voting he carried the state by solid margins. For the final two points it is important to recall that nearly all Obama/Biden campaign stops are on college campus.  This is designed to achieve two important goals.  First, engage a key demographic for Obama whose support has flagged this election cycle.  The second is to energize this low-propensity demographic to cast their vote again for Obama without cannibalizing votes the campaign was already certain to gain.  In each one of the above facets in the Ohio vote, President Obama re-election effort is failing miserably:

Early voting

Adrian Gray, who oversaw the Bush 2004 voter-contact operation and is now a policy analyst for a New York investment firm, makes the point that as of Tuesday, 530,813 Ohio Democrats had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot. That’s down 181,275 from four years ago. But 448,357 Ohio Republicans had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot, up 75,858 from the last presidential election. That 257,133-vote swing almost wipes out Mr. Obama’s 2008 Ohio victory margin of 262,224. Since most observers expect Republicans to win Election Day turnout, these early vote numbers point toward a Romney victory in Ohio. They are also evidence that Scott Jennings, my former White House colleague and now Romney Ohio campaign director, was accurate when he told me that the Buckeye GOP effort is larger than the massive Bush 2004 get-out-the-vote operation.

The youth vote

Democrats explain away those numbers by saying that they are turning out new young Ohio voters. But I asked Kelly Nallen, the America Crossroads data maven, about this. She points out that there are 12,612 GOP “millennials” (voters aged 18-29) who’ve voted early compared with 9,501 Democratic millennials.

Cannibals

Are Democrats bringing out episodic voters who might not otherwise turn out? Not according to Ms. Nallen. She says that about 90% of each party’s early voters so far had also voted in three of the past four Ohio elections. Democrats also suggest they are bringing Obama-leaning independents to polls. But since Mr. Romney has led among independents in nine of the 13 Ohio polls conducted since the first debate, the likelihood is that the GOP is doing as good a job in turning out their independent supporters as Democrats are in turning out theirs.

Democrats Rebound in Tuesday Early Voting in Clark County

Week 2 early voting in Clark County continues to tell very different stories.  Estimates on the large pick up in early voting have mostly proved to be unfounded.  Democrats, the regular leaders in this area, have failed to even match their weekday average in either of the first two days. And Republicans came out of the gate flying but settled back to only slightly outperform the prior week’s average turnout.  Overall turnout is only marginally higher than the first week average giving rise to concerns that Democrats lack enthusiasm and Republicans may have cannibalized some early votes during their week 1 pick-up.  Today should be of great interest.  The early voting sites change locations around the state and Democrats have en enormous advantage today.  If they do not annihilate Republicans in this last big opportunity for them Thursday and Friday could be Republican turn-out efforts we’ve never seen before.  On the day, Democrats cast 13,002 ballots and Republicans cast 10,100 ballots for a 2898 net gain. The Independent/Other group continued their steady march upward garnering 20.7% of the overall ballots cast.

Under-reported on this site is the combination of absentee ballots and early voting elsewhere in the state.  Absent Hurricane Sandy, I fully intended to incorporate those results to give a better state-wide picture.  But lacking my original models and a host of other data, it has become too much to recreate with everything else going on (like rotating between the 2 sets of clothes I am living out of…good times).  That said, there is plenty of important information in the aggregate data such as the spread between the two parties in overall ballots cast state-wide is only 6% in favor of the Democrats far less than their lead in 2008.

Another Solid Washoe Early Voting Win for Republicans

For the second straight day during the most important time of early voting, Republicans notch another victory expanding on yesterday’s win.  In Tuesday early voting Republicans cast 3700 ballots versus Democrats 3360, a 340 ballot margin. Aggregate ballots cast were 120% the 2012 weekday reflecting the expected week 2 turnout, unlike Monday.

Other than the odd spike on Sunday (the lowest turnout day of 2012), the contest has been largely evenly matched after the typical strong start by the Democrats.  Early voting has been a back and forth battle in Washoe County but during the most important time period Republicans have greatly stepped up their game. The Independent/Other turnout remains an important segment in the 2012 early voting and remains the great unknown whether they will fall to Romney or Obama. The strong reversal in Republican fortunes the last two days show has increased the growth rate of Republican turnout versus Democrat turnout to 3.2% versus the models 2% heading into this week.We are working without our models for now (I’d ask for a Hurricane Sandy exemption) but between the turnout below expectations thus far and the increased growth rate, Republicans are poised to meaningfully turn the tides on Democrats in Washoe early voting this year. The gains of the last two days continue to eat into the Democrats ballot advantage that stands as 1117 ballots.

 

 

Are Democrats Cannibalizing Election Day Votes?

One of the key distinguishing advantages to early voting is the ability of political parties to get their low-propensity voters to actually cast their ballot.  Every election, though, the question remains whether these turnouts in early voting are cannibalizing election day voters of each side.  The GOP ran a study on this concern and the results bode ill for what had been a key strength to Obama’s 2008 victory:

Democrats more than Republicans are getting their most loyal supporters to vote early, but with polls showing a close race among those who have voted so far, concerns are being raised about a GOP tsunami on the actual Election Day, next Tuesday.

According to a GOP analysis of early voting and absentee ballot requests provided to Secrets, the Democrats are turning out their most reliable, or so-called “high propensity voters” than Republicans, leaving fewer for Election Day. The GOP is pushing weaker supporters to vote early, expecting high enthusiasm to drive their regular supporters to the polls next week.

For example, in Ohio, the Democrats have turned out 43 percent of the most loyal supporters to vote, compared to just 27 percent of the GOP. In Iowa, the difference is 43 percent to 29 percent.

Even with the difference in turnout of loyal supporters, Gallup finds that among early voters, Romney is beating Obama 52 percent to 45 percent, though some state totals show an Obama advantage. Plus in states like North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, the GOP has seen huge requests for last-minute absentee ballots this month.

Strong Monday Early Voting for GOP in Washoe and Clark Counties

Washoe County (thanks to Paul8148 for the data)

A Washoe County win for the GOP casting 2859 ballots versus 2705 for Democrats achieving a net 164 ballot gain. This is huge for the GOP as they needed to reverse the slide in Washoe and they did so with gusto. The overall turnout was below our expectations but that is more concerning for Democrats as questions regarding voter enthusiasm have continued to creep into their early vote results.

Clark County (thanks to vnClark for the data)

The gap in all-important Clark County narrowed dramatically on Monday with Democrats casting 14,113 ballots and Republicans casting Republicans 12,492 — by far the best comparative for Republicans in 2008 or 2008. This performance compressed the % contribution to 42.8% for Democrats and 37.9% for Republicans.  The two day move for Republicans is fantastic news for Team Nevada and bodes well during this big final week of early voting. The turnout was below our model’s expectation but the steep climb from Republicans would give a strong boost to expected growth that we will update after Tuesday’s numbers.

Charts expected later.

Clark County Sunday Early Voting Keeps It Interesting

Sunday is understandably  a slow day in early voting so today’s low results are not a big shock but the trends in Clark County get more intriguing by the day.  Democrats cast 11,248 ballots while Republicans cast 8272, for a 2976 ballot advantage.  As it stands Democrats have a 45,675 advantage in partisan ballots cast in 2012, down from 56,298  at the same point in 2008 — a -10,623 election-over-election reduction.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Sunday results is that for the first time this year in Clark County, the Democrats had a lower turnout than the comparable day in 2008 — a seriously bad sign is this all-important County.  The trend line for the Democrats (added below) is troubling as well. While Republicans slowly but steadily are picking up their pace of the overall turnout, the Democrats continue to drop with reasonable consistency.  This is all the more ominous considering the turnout in Clark County next week is expected to increase by as much as 40% more than the average daily weekday turnout in 2012. If Democrat turnout continues this slide or has more days under-performing its 2008 results, Republicans could see dramatic swings in the ballot differential heading into election day.  The other area of concern is the continued pickup in the Independent/Other category. Sunday’s steep fall-off of Democrats was met by continued gains in this group. The increased contribution from the Independent/Other category is one of the hidden stories in Nevada early voting so we will watch it closely:

NOTE: This is an updated chart. Thanks to nvClark and  rcl_in_vain the comments for catching some data issues.

The Clark County model

Consistent with what we wrote for Washoe County, we are going to administer some “final” tweaks to the Clark model.  Many of the model’s original assumptions were made using only one day’s actual data plus a few trends gleaned from the 2008 results.   We now have 9 days data of actual 2012 turnout which gives us a better sense of what is actually happening on the ground in Nevada.  Therefore we are going to use the 2012 weekday average Democrat turnout (14,817) from last week as the base for the expected ramp-up in 2012 turnout during the coming week. The daily ramp-up percentage will be the differential between the 2008 first week average daily gross turnout (22,862) and daily 2nd week gross turnout (Mon: 134%, Tues: 140%, Wed: 155%, Thur: 168%, Fri: 195%). With dramatic increases in turnout crescendoing throughout the second week it becomes that much more imperative for Republicans to outpace Democrats during the stretch run.  The expected daily growth rate of the GOP turnout, unlike in Washoe, has held relatively stable and stands at +2.7% reflecting the current day-over-day rate in 2012. Increases in this area can have sizable impacts on the final results so we will cautiously adjust this as needed. With these new assumptions, the model expects the Democrats to end early voting with a  66,685 advantage in ballots cast — down from 83,633 in 2008.

Washoe County Sunday Early Vote: For the GOP the Treand is Not Your Friend

The expected Sunday early voting drop-off occurred in Washoe County with only 4326 total ballots cast (57% of the 2012 weekday average).  Democrats cast 1932 ballots while Republicans cast 1519, for a 413 ballot advantage.The reality for the GOP is they are going to need to reverse the trends in early voting if they expect to meaningfully outpace Democrats in 2012. As it stands Democrats have a 1611 advantage in partisan ballots cast in 2012, down from 9376  at the same point in 2008 — a -7765 election-over-election reduction. The second week of early voting is expected to be at least 1/3 higher than the first week in Washoe so there are plenty of opportunities to not only make-up ground but quickly pass the Democrats.  At this juncture until the GOP strings together a couple day-over-day wins in early voting they can only take solace in the tremendous reduction in Democrat advantage from 2008 but not a full reversal into a GOP advantage as was hoped for at the onset. One trend however does offer the GOP a reason for optimism.  The Independent/Other turnout continues to climb in overall make-up of aggregate ballots cast.  We’ll have to see a few more polls to confirm this is good for Romney, but if he continues to carry this group by sizable percentages he may well have more banked votes than we realize at this point.

The Washoe Model

We are going to administer some “final” tweaks to the Washoe model and do much the same for Clark County.  Many of the model’s original assumptions were made using only one day’s actual data plus a few trends gleaned from the 2008 results.   We now have 9 days data of actual 2012 turnout which gives us a better sense of what is actually happening on the ground in Nevada.  Therefore we are going to use the 2012 weekday average Democrat turnout (3115) from last week as the base for the expected ramp-up in 2012 turnout during the coming week. The daily ramp-up percentage will be the differential between the 2008 first week average daily gross turnout (6639) and daily 2nd week gross turnout (Mon: 117%, Tues: 140%, Wed: 153%, Thur: 184%, Fri: 165%). With dramatic increases in turnout throughout the second week it becomes that much more imperative for Republicans to outpace Democrats during the stretch run.  The expected daily growth rate of the GOP turnout is the toughest figure to get a handle on.  After coming out of the gate strong the subsequent fade makes putting a reasonable number here with any certainty nearly impossible. Excepting the Sunday results with its unusually small sample-size out outlier negative growth, the rate of change in the GOP’s performance is low (+2%) but at least positive.  We will leave it at that for now but may adjust after Tuesday’s data is released.  With these new assumptions, the model expects the Democrats to end early voting with a  1126 advantage in ballots cast — down from 11,978 in 2008.

Clark and Washoe Counties Saturday Early Voting Holds Steady

So much news going on today it’s been tough to keep up with everything.  Lucky for you guys the Jets are the 1pm game and I switched out of using them as my knockout pool pick so I can catch up on Nevada early voting.  I’ll keep it brief since I’m tweaking the model after today’s numbers come in and the new Washoe model nailed the Democrats # for Saturday although only I know that :).

The takeaway for both counties is two-fold.

First Republicans are keeping pace with their performance relative to Democrats this year whereas in 2008 Republicans steadily gained throughout the early voting. The Republicans started out at a much higher base in early voting versus 2008 so this is by no means disastrous.  But if Republicans were going to meaningfully put Obama’s chances of winning Nevada in peril before election day we would like to have seen steady improvement throughout the first week. As we reported earlier, the numbers in Clark County are expected to move in the GOP’s direction starting Monday as the early voting booths which rotate in location move to more Republican-friendly locales so we’ll watch for that closely.

Second, the Independent vote continues to contribute a greater percentage of the overall early voting.  This may be the more surprising development among all the early voting stories.  If Mitt Romney is winning this group by the large margins showing up in recent polling, this may more than make up any deficits among the early ballots cast.  We’ll be watching Independent polling closely to see how this plays out.

Clark County Saturday October 27 early voting:

Democrats cast 14422 ballot on Saturday, almost exactly as our model expected.  Republicans cast 9655 ballots or 67% of the Democrat vote which was below our expectations. The aggregate lead for Democrats is 42,699 approximately -10,000 less than in 2008 at the same juncture.

Washoe County Saturday October 27 early voting:

Democrats cast 2991 early ballots on Saturday versus Republicans who cast 2833 ballots or only 95% of the Democrats total which was below our expectations.  Overall Democrats lead by 1198 ballots cast, approximately -7000 fewer than the 9093 lead they enjoyed at this point in 2008.

In Wisconsin, It’s Game On

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics breaks down Wisconsin which is quickly becoming Battleground central of the 2012 election:

Is Wisconsin the new Ohio? It’s beginning to feel that way. As the presidential race hurtles toward a dramatic conclusion, both campaigns are suddenly locked in an intense battle to win the Badger State and its 10 Electoral College votes.

Polls

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports underscored just how close the contest has become here: President Obama and Mitt Romney were tied at 49 percent each in the poll of likely voters, conducted Thursday. Overall, Obama leads by just 2.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics Average in Wisconsin, down from 6.6 percent two weeks ago.

The cavalry

Obama’s campaign has moved quickly over the last week to try to shore up support in a state the president won overwhelmingly four years ago. In addition to the vice president’s visits Friday, the campaign announced that the president himself will make a campaign stop next week in Green Bay. In another sign of Democrats’ concern over the tightening race in Wisconsin, earlier this week Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, bought advertising time in five media markets for the final week of the campaign.

Meeting the challenge

The Romney camp has also mobilized more resources to the state, apparently sensing a shift in momentum. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio stumped for Romney on Thursday in the heavily Republican area of Waukesha, just west of Milwaukee. RNC Chairman and Wisconsin native Reince Priebus barnstormed the state earlier in the week, and Romney is set to hold a “victory rally” in the Milwaukee area on Monday night.

The latest firewall

Along with Ohio and Iowa, Wisconsin represents what is being termed Obama’s “Midwest Firewall.” Ohio remains the focal point, thanks to the electoral math; whichever candidate wins the Buckeye State and its 18 electoral votes has a much easier route to reach the magic number of 270. But with Wisconsin (and Iowa) very much in play, the Romney campaign senses an opportunity to break through Obama’s firewall, and with the state’s 10 electoral votes in its column the Romney brain trust can suddenly see a potential path to the White House despite losing Ohio – something that would be unprecedented for a Republican presidential candidate.

Changing map

Under normal circumstances, the idea that a GOP nominee could lose a more traditionally Republican-leaning state like Ohio but win in historically less favorable territory like Wisconsin and Iowa — states Obama carried in 2008 by 14 and 9.5 percentage points, respectively — would appear to be a long shot. But this year is far from normal. Despite having suffered a decline of roughly four points or more in several other swing states since the first debate in early October, Obama’s lead has slipped less than half of that amount in Ohio. He appears to be “defying gravity” there — in the words of NBC News’ Chuck Todd — thanks in part to his stance on the auto bailout, heavy ad spending, an intense early voting effort, and a local economy performing better than the national average. In Wisconsin, however, it appears the laws of physics still apply. Obama has lost 5.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics Average in Wisconsin since October 3, the day of the first presidential debate.

Republican game changers

[T]he Romney campaign has two additional reasons to believe it can keep the president earthbound there.

  • The first is the choice of Paul Ryan, who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District in the southeastern part of the state and hails from Janesville. Ryan’s status as favorite son, and his ability to appeal to independent voters in the state, is suddenly more important than ever.
  • Second, Republicans believe the political machine they’ve built statewide over the past few years, largely to battle the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, will make the difference for Romney on Election Day. That machine, which the Republicans test-drove back on June 5, performed exceedingly well: Walker turned out 1.3 million voters in the recall, more than 205,000 more than he did in his 2010 victory.

Early voting

Early voting started this week in Wisconsin, and Republicans say they got off to a good start. “Republican strongholds like Waukesha and Washington counties over-performed 2008, while Democratic strongholds like Dane County under-performed,” said Rick Wiley, political director for the Republican National Committee and former executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. But given the overwhelming size of Obama’s victory in Wisconsin four years ago, Republicans could out-perform 2008 by a significant amount but still come up on the losing end, especially if Democrats are able to avoid a substantial drop-off in enthusiasm.

Thoughts on Yesterday’s CNN/ORC International Poll With Obama Leading by 4 in Ohio

A spate of polls came out yesterday that I left alone for various reasons but the CNN/ORC International poll with Obama leading by 4-points created special consternation among Romney supporters and readers of this blog.  The reasons behind the concern were party ID and the Independent vote.

The party ID was not outrageous. The split was D +3 (Dem 35, Rep 32, Ind 33) when we are usually dealing with Ohio polls at D +8, D +7 and even D +10. As a matter of fact at the same time as the CNN release, American Research Group released an Ohio poll showing Obama leading by 2-points with a party ID split of D +9. In 2008 Ohio turnout was reported as D +8 although this has been disproven in favor of the real split of D +5. The 2004 party ID was R +5 so the fact that this poll ends up somewhere in the middle says we’re at least in an acceptable range. The other factor causing concern among the pro-Romney factions was that Obama was leading in this poll among Independents by 5-points, 49 to 44.  On those two factors alone this should have been a great poll for team Obama since anomalies in those two areas are the most cited reasons to dismiss the regularly erroneous polls we have seen this cycle.

I tried to contact CNN (OK, I tweeted their political director) for the racial make-up of the poll since they conveniently failed to include that in the cross-tabs and this is another prime area for abuse by the polling outfits.  But alas, my tweet went unanswered. Thankfully incredible readers in my comment sections went to great lengths identifying many other credible sources debunking multiple oddities in this ostensibly credible poll.

I’ll state up-front, this poll does not concern me in the slightest over Romney’s prospects in the state. I try to be as objective as possible when running the numbers and my opinions on who is winning are whatever the #s tell me they should be and Ohio is actually looking pretty decent for Romney.  Yes, I said Ohio is looking pretty decent for Romney.

Independents

Thanks to Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher), we know that in the seventeen most recent polls in Ohio, only three have Obama leading with Independents and two of those are these same CNN/ORC polls. In the fourteen other polls, Romney’s lead with independents is +11.4. CNN/ORC looks to be the outlier, not the norm by any means.  In that same ARG poll cited above Romney actually had a 21-point lead among Independents. This essentially means Obama is not leading with Independents despite whatever the outlier CNN/ORC says.  When Ohio’s ballots are counted, each side will lock down their base and the differential in partisan turnout will be minimal. Whoever wins Independents will win Ohio. Obama carried Independents in Ohio by 8 percentage points in 2008 and today he is losing Independents by 10+ points.  This is an 18-point swing among the voting group who will decide the state.

Early voting

Early voting is over-represented in the CNN poll. According to @Adrian_Gray in the poll 2/5 of Ohio likely voters have already cast their ballot. County election offices say only 1/5 have voted. Both cannot be right. Extrapolating the CNN poll statewide, Obama leads 59-38 among the 1.4 million that voted early. Romney leads 51-44 among 4.4 million have yet to vote. The math is pretty straightforward where the overwhelming remaining voters support Romney and should overwhelm any early vote advantage CNN found.

2012 is not 2008

Obama’s 2008 early voting secret weapon is gone. He won Ohio in 2008 due to an overwhelming early vote advantage.  On election day more votes were cast for John McCain than Barack Obama but so many votes banked away for Obama that it wasn’t enough. Today, according to the same Adrian Gray: “220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008”

Undecideds break for the challenger

On average Obama’s support level is always stuck around 47% in the Battleground states.  His current Real Clear Politics average in Ohio thanks in no small party to this CNN poll and the ARG poll stands at 48%.  We have shown across multiple elections against an incumbent President Undecideds break between 66-80% for the challenger. This means there is not a lot of votes left for Obama beyond his base and already accounted for Independents.

Between the reversal of the Independent voting block, the neutralizing of Obama’s early vote advantage and Undecideds always breaking 66-80% for the challenger Obama is looking really bad in Ohio.  And everyone today admits whomever wins Ohio wins the election.  To those who are unnecessarily concerned. rest easy.  Things are looking far better for Romney than is being represented.  The networks need ratings and horse-races increase ratings.  Four years ago at this time the race was over yet you could still see stories about McCain’s momentum.  It was just to keep people tuned in because that’s what pays the bills.  They did the same thing for Dukakis and Dole down the stretch when those races were blow-outs.

This race is far from over and 11 days is an eternity in politics, but every sign says Romney has the initiative and Obama is only responding to whatever Romney does. Obama’s fire-wall keeps getting moved back while Romney keeps pressing forward.  You can’t call a race until the last ballot is cast but I’m fairly optimistic on Romney’s prospects in Ohio at this point.  And I’m a pessimist by nature.

Clark County Day 7 Early Vote: Republicans Strike Back

The Clark County early vote story continues to drive intrigue in Nevada.  The Obama campaign would love to put the state out of reach but Team Nevada answered the challenge on Friday with the Republican’s best turnout relative to the total early vote of any day over the last two elections.  Democrats cast 13,862 ballots versus Republicans  who cast 10,161. The Republican’s relative percentage of the Democrat’s vote was 73% — also its best performance over the two elections. Next week will be the big test for both parties but after a few days of nominal declines the GOP turned things around with gusto.  The key will be to continue closing the gap and maintain a rate of growth relative to Democrats that keeps them within striking distance statewide. Independents held their ground reminding both parties there is a sizable chunk of the electorate that can meaningfully alter the outcome of the election while the rest of us focus on party performance. Anecdotal, a Gravis Marketing survey released yesterday had Mitt Romney up 35-points with Independents in Nevada.   Just sayin …

The Clark County model

After a couple days of largely flat to sagging growth, Republicans shot up well past the model’s expectation at 73% versus the model’s 65%.  We won’t change any growth rate until after Sunday’s #s but if they can continue to rise over the weekend, they should be in great shape heading into next week. As a small hint if we adjusted the model to reflect the current growth rate it would shave over 10k off Democrats final margin from yesterday. The weekday average for Democrat turnout was 14,818 only 2.5% greater than our estimate of 14,446.  We will likely use the weekday average as the basis for our estimate of the expected ramp up in turnout next week as that reflects actual 2012 enthusiasm.

The current lead for Democrats in ballots cast stands at 37,935, down -10,366 compared to the same point in 2008. Interestingly when you look at the Republicans dramatically improved early voting pace at Day 9 in 2008 the GOP hit turnout of 211,151 and trailed by 56,298.  This year the GOP hit 211351 on Day 7 and trial by just 37935.  So they have shaved as much 18,363 off the Democrats margin through their dramatically improved performance.

Finally, as I wrote in the Washoe write-up earlier, from my source out west :

Just wanted to update you on Clark’s numbers. We should start seeing movement towards [the GOP] next week. The thing the press doesn’t pick up on is that most of the early vote locations are mobile so they move from supermarket to supermarket, community center to community center for a 1,2 or 3 day period. Starting today and next week we start getting locations in our strong areas so the results should narrow.

Something to keep an eye on going forward.

Washoe Friday (Oct 26) Early Vote, Democrats Cast 21 More Ballots

Give both sides credit for consistency, they are battling it out neck and neck in the early vote in Washoe County. For the second straight day the vote differential was essentially even with Democrats again nosing ahead by a handful of votes.  On the day Democrats cast 2218 ballots and Republicans cast 2197 ballots, 99% of the Democrats total. There was a -35% drop-off from Thursday in the aggregate vote which did not occur in 2008 so I’m wondering if there was a local event or holiday that decreased the turnout.  First snow day in Tahoe?  Free garlic fries at Pluto’s? Where’d everybody go?    The differential between Democrats and Republicans obviously remains about even but the Independent/Other category remains on the march up another 0.2pp.  With each passing day the Independent vote increases in importance especially with Romney racking up gaudy margins among this group around the country.

With even results little changes in the overall picture.  I’ll probably apply some major tweaks to the model over the weekend to more accurately reflect this year’s turnout ahead of next week’s ramp-up into the end of early voting. The aggregate differential is 1040 versus 1019 yesterday and -6900 less than the 7940 differential at the same point 4 years ago.

Obama’s “Fuzzy Math” in Ohio Early Voting

Regular source for tons of great campaign information, Adrian Gray, has a column today in Politico demolishing the Obama campaign memo claiming early voting strength in Ohio.  I am no big fan of tracking early voting because the numbers are incredibly opaque so drawing substantive inferences is fraught with guesswork and assumptions easily challengeable by anyone with an opposing view.  The Nevada situation is a special case for the Battlegroundwatch.com blog which is why I blog that state so extensively and leave the other states to people like Gray and Larry Schweikart.

In today’s column, Gray outlines the egregious mischaracterizations and misrepresentations in the campaign memo as only a veteran campaign operative would know:

At this point in an election cycle, many campaign staffers are busy fighting the press on what they call “process stories.” The candidates and their staffs want to talk about their plans and policies while reporters covering them find their audiences demand a play-by-play of the horse race. The result is constant overstuffing of campaign metrics and polling that only serve to muddy the waters for most political observers. In a close race, such as we have today, there is often plenty of data for both sides to use to their favor. One poll says this, another says that.

Obama memo

This makes it especially surprising to see the piece put out by President Barack Obama’s field director this week on early voting in Ohio. When things are ugly for a campaign, these types of memos can start flying. It is troubling for the president’s supporters that they could not come up with at least a handful of positive data points in Ohio. I worked as director of strategy at the Republican National Committee during the difficult 2006 election cycle — I know firsthand how hard it it is to come up with positive data in a negative cycle.

The takedown

There are normally three signs you know a campaign metrics memo is purely spin.

1. Anecdotes: “We have seen groups as big as 100 voters going to vote in Athens, Ohio.” Only 604 democrats have voted in person in the entire county and no more than 40 in a single precinct (that would be Athens 3-5, for those scoring at home).

2. Unverifiable Data: “Precincts that Obama won in 2008 are voting early at a higher rate”: This is unverifiable and misleading because there is no such thing as an “Obama precinct.” Every ten years, the entire country rebalances its voting districts based on a constitutionally mandated census. In 2010, this process redrew the lines of reportable voting areas that were used in 2008. So this year, we have entirely new precincts, thereby making it impossible to validate their claim.

3. Cherry-picking random sub-poll data: “Time poll shows the President up 60-30” among early voters. That sub-sample was asked of 145 people and was one of many of similar ilk (with a huge variation in results). Their central data argument is that 43 more people told Time’s pollster over a two-day window they supported Obama. If that is their best claim to a lead in Ohio, it is a troubling picture for the president.

The reality of Ohio early voting

I have always been a believer in data telling me the full story. Truth is, nobody knows what will happen on Election Day. But here is what we do know: 220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008.

Washoe Early Vote Finally Posts with Democrats Casting 36 More Ballots

Interesting day in Washoe with the two parties casting almost identical numbers of ballots, Democrats 3431 versus Republicans 3396. For trend watchers this may be disappointing but a Republican turnout at 99% of the Democrat vote is better than any day in 2008. While we would hope for a straight line of continually increasing Republican gains, the reality is it will be an up and down affair (must resist Kate Upton reference) throughout the early voting. Democrats are fairly stable with their turnout while Republicans peaked on Tuesday and have steadily fallen back towards the Democrat’s level. The key will be whether this downward slope is a trend or an aberration. The aggregate ballot lead for Democrats stands at 1019, down from 7161 at the same point in 2008. Similar to what we are seeing in Clark County, the Independent/Other category remains on a slow but steady upward march. This group could be the key in the election if Romney is seeing near the double-digit leads he is enjoying in national polls and some state polling.

The Washoe model

We waited a day to make changes to our assumptions and that was the right call. With the relatively flat day-over-day result the 2012 rate of growth between the Republican turn out and Democrats is 4.1%, higher than our initial estimate of 3.85% that we’ve been using but well off the 7.1% as of yesterday. At the same time the steady Democrat turnout confirms the overestimation of Democrat enthusiasm this cycle so we are adjusting the expected Dem turnout to 3358 from 3985 until the expected ramp-up turnout starting next week. We are modeling the ramp-up as the turnout % relative to the day 1 result but it may be wiser to estimate week two turnout as a percent of the prior week’s average turnout. We’ll think about that over the weekend after we get Friday’s results and tweak accordingly. As it stands with a new growth rate in GOP turnout of 4.1% relative to the Democrats turnout, Republicans would have a final early vote lead in ballots cast of 5793. This compares with a 11,978 ballot advantage Democrats enjoyed heading into election day in 2008.

Finally away from Washoe, I have one hell of a source regarding Clark County early voting:

Just wanted to update you on Clark’s numbers. We should start seeing movement towards [the GOP] next week. The thing the press doesn’t pick up on is that most of the early vote locations are mobile so they move from supermarket to supermarket, community center to community center for a 1,2 or 3 day period. Starting today and next week we start getting locations in our strong areas so the results should narrow.

Something to keep an eye on going forward.

Did I just bury the lede?

Ohio Early Voting in One Tweet

From our old friend Adrian Gray:

This doesn’t even touch the 15-18 point swing in the Independent vote from 2008 to today among other metrics breaking Romney’s way.

Democrats Hold Steady in Clark County Early Voting

Clark County #s are in for Day 6 of early voting in Nevada and Democrats hold serve maintaining a solid lead. Democrats cast 14,969 ballots, a 0.2% day-over-day (dod) increase while Republicans cast 9434 ballots a dod decline of -3.0%.  Independents/Other continue on the march casting 5866 almost exactly equal to the prior day.  Overall the aggregate numbers of ballots cast declined versus Wednesday but both Democrats and Independent increased as a % of the total while Republicans declined.

The trend is most definitely not the friend of Republicans lately. It becomes increasingly important for Team Nevada to reverse this recent slide to keep Clark competitive enough to make up the difference elsewhere. Although it appears Mitt Romney is doing better with Independents, a small victory there won’t be enough if Democrats pull away next week when the turnout increases. As it stands the GOP is still doing dramatically better than 2008. The Democrats aggregate lead is 34234 ballots cast, 9321 fewer than the margin four years ago at this juncture but a redoubled effort will be needed to counter the Harry Reid/Culinary Union/Obama machine.

The Clark Model

The model held up OK with Democrat turnout only +3.6% greater than expected. The reduced performance by Republicans is more concerning as the model is predicated on the steady climb the GOP achieved relative to the Democrats in 2008. Thus far we are seeing stable Democrat performance as expected but a declining representation from the Republicans. This continues to lower the rate of expected growth and may warrant reversing this expectation absent better returns going forward. The new growth rate is 2.2%, down from 3.2% the day before. The model now estimates a Democrat advantage in early ballots cast of 72,467 — still down from the 2008 advantage 83,633 but progressively worse than prior forecasts.