Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama trouncing McCain among early voters

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As Nate Silver noted this morning, "these are not hard-and-fast numbers." Still, polling by SurveyUSA of early voters in five states shows Obama well ahead of McCain:

-- Georgia: Obama +6 (18% early voting)
-- Iowa: Obama +34 (14% early voting)
-- New Mexico: Obama +23 (10% early voting)
-- North Carolina: Obama +34 (5% early voting)
-- Ohio: Obama +18 (12% early voting)

Note that these are all, more or less, battleground states, though McCain will likely win Georgia and Obama will likely win Iowa.

Obama's huge advantage in North Carolina may not make much of a difference, given that only 5 percent of the electorate is voting early. But look at New Mexico and especially Ohio, where a close race could very well end up being decided by these early voters.

Overall, "Obama is leading by an average of 23 points among early voters in these five states, states which went to George W. Bush by an average of 6.5 points in 2004." And, as Nate points out, early voting leaned heavily to Bush in both 2000 and 2004.

Given that early voters tend to be highly partisan, "[w]hat these results would seem to suggest... is that there are fairly massive advantages for the Democrats in enthusiasm and/or turnout operations. They imply that Obama is quite likely to turn out his base in large numbers; the question is whether the Republicans will be able to do the same."

In the past -- in 2004, for example -- I would have said, and did say, yes, that the Republicans would turn out their base not just in large numbers but in significantly larger numbers than the Democrats theirs.

But 2008 isn't 2000 or 2004. This may be the year that the old rules no longer apply.

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