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How Early Voting Changed the Game in 2008

Michael McDonald’s great early voting website has the totals.

31,268,357 voters have cast votes early in America, which represents 25.3% of the total of all ballots cast in 2004. Nobody doubts we are headed for an absolute record turnout in this election.

22.5% of Americans cast their vote early in 2004, and if that number held true for this election, then 138,970,474 Americans will end up casting ballots.

Chicago at Dawn -

[Chicago, Dawn]

Here are battleground states with early voting, followed by the percentage of the total 2004 vote that represents:

CO: 1,704,280; 79.3% of 2004
FL: 4,377,774; 57.3% of 2004
GA: 2,020,829; 60.9% of 2004
IA: 481,179; 31.6% of 2004
IN: 668,868; 26.6% of 2004
MT: 184,632; 40.5% of 2004
NM: 192,229; 73.2% of 2004
NC: 2,623,838; 73.9% of 2004
NV: 561,776; 67.6% of 2004
ND: 76,496; 24.2% of 2004
OH: 1,456,364; 25.2% of 2004
VA: 465,962; 14.5% of 2004
WV: 166,353; 21.6% of 2004

The numbers for Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and Florida are eye-popping, all of these states have had more than half the vote from 2004 in. All of these states were won by George Bush, and they account for 74 electoral votes. We know that Barack Obama has placed an overwhelming ground force in place to generate early voting, and we can be confident that the early voters in these states are banking a large lead for Barack Obama.

In Georgia, for example, African-Americans represented 35% of the early vote, and 25% is the historical high. If Georgia winds up with 30% of the vote remaining African-American, Obama wins Georgia.

In Nevada, Clark County has seen a 21.4-point gap between Dems and Reps. Washoe, which turned blue due to the tremendous organizing effort, has a 16.8-point gap between Dems and Reps.

In New Mexico, the Dem-Rep gap is 20 points in early voting. In West Virginia, 24 points. In Iowa, 18 points. In Florida, where Republicans held a 2.8% edge in 2004 early and absentee voting, Dems now hold an 8.3% edge.

Only in Colorado is the gap somewhat closer, with Dems holding a mere 1.8% lead in early voting figures. However, unaffiliateds/independents have produced a fairly high 26.4% portion of the early vote, and Obama has dominated the ground game in Colorado to get early voting accomplished; a lot of those undeclared voters are likely Obama-ID’d voters from all the contacts.

Early voting has changed the game this year; every day was election day. Obama’s verdict: “Come and catch me, Senator McCain.”


Programming note: Brett and I are in Grant Park and hope to bring you some good photos and a good liveblog of all the day’s events. I will be on Rachel Maddow’s radio show for a segment this evening to talk about the ground game, so please tune in.