Political Animal


November 06, 2012 11:35 AM Final Early Voting Numbers

By Ed Kilgore

Late yesterday Aaron Blake of WaPo’s The Fix put out the final version of his Early Vote Tracker by state. You can review the whole thing over there, but what surprised me a bit is that the overall levels of early voting were very high—over half of the 2008 vote, which likely means an even higher percentage of the eventual 2012 vote—in North Carolina and Florida, aside from the expected astronomical levels in Colorado and Nevada. Iowa’s early voting also came in high, at 41.5% of the 2008 vote. Then you have a notable drop-off to Ohio at 28.8%, and then an even bigger drop-off to the rest of the battleground states (Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, all coming in at under 10%).

In terms of the composition of the early vote, we have no solid data for states without party registration (Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin), and New Hampshire just doesn’t make information on its very limited early voting available.

On the states where we do have data on the party registration of early voters, Blake offers this handy generalization:

Here’s the overarching takeaway: In basically every state where we have good data available, Democrats performed worse than they did in 2008 but better than they did in 2010. And if you extrapolate the shift to the entire statewide vote, we’ve got a very close race in store.

The big variable we don’t know, of course, is the extent to which either party’s early voters are low-propensity, high-propensity, or just regular old run-of-the-mill voters. And that makes any extrapolation from early voting numbers to the final vote perilous.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • K in VA on November 06, 2012 11:39 AM:

    I have a dream that all the GOP's efforts at suppressing Democratic votes, particularly those of racial and ethnic minorities and of college students, backfires in a big way, and actually stimulate voting by those strong Democratic constituencies. I hope I wake up tomorrow morning and find out it wasn't just a dream

  • Karen on November 06, 2012 11:53 AM:

    The comments at that site terrify me. If the commenters are right, we are completely screwed and will be looking at trashing the modern era when President Romney convenes the next Congress. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

  • boatboy_srq on November 06, 2012 11:54 AM:

    @K in VA: I can't help wondering, also, how many GOTea votes were suppressed in their overzealous drive to keep those people from the polls.