Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Omens For Barack Obama

Early voting is taken fairly seriously in the states and the results that have come in are pretty favourable for the Democrat. While party registration isn't a perfect predictor of voting intention, it is a decent facsimile. While some registered Democrats will vote Republican, it is a two way street. Here's some data from two key swing states.

In North Carolina, 771,549 registered Democrats had voted early compared with only 369,109 Republicans. In other words Democrats are out puling republicans two to one in formerly red North Carolina. While the state does have more registered Democrats than Republicans the ratio should be just under 3:2 for the Dems not over 2:1. North Carolina does a great job of keeping their records up to date and you can follow it all here.

In Florida, the state makes it a little harder total votes by registration so I just chose a county at somewhat random for a spot check. Alachua county is dominated by the city of Gainesville which is itself dominated by the University of Florida. If Obama is to win on election night, he needs younger voters, particularly university voters, to vote in numbers. That appears to be happening at the home of Gatorade. In a county Kerry won by a margin of about 4:3(62,504 to 47,762), Democrats have outvoted Republicans by a margin of about 7:2 (16,984 to 4,804).

There are two big problems for McCain in these numbers. First, even if McCain is able to make up ground in the last week, 23% of North Carolinians have already voted and can't change their minds. While the number is lower in Florida (only about 15%) it still represents a major challenge. Second, on election day Barack Obama is going to have fewer votes that he has to pull with his massive ground organization. In Alachua county for instance, he already has about a quarter of John Kerry's votes from 2004. In North Carolina, over a quarter of registered Democrats have already voted which represents an astouding 50% of Kerry's 2004 total. McCain by contrast, has a lot of work to do. In Alachua, Republicans only account for 10% of Bush's total in 2004. In North Carolina, less than a fifth of Republicans have voted representing a similar amount of George W. Bush's 2004 vote. This represents a lot more work for McCain's smaller ground team.

McCain can only hope that independents are breaking overwhelmingly for him in both these cases, otherwise, he's in big trouble. Independents are, however, a small chunk of the votes already cast (roughly 15% in Alachua and 17% in North Carolina).

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