Florida early voting stats: Democrat – 56.2%; Republican – 29.3%.
Here’s a comprehensive compilation of early voting statistics by George Mason Professor Michael McDonald.
What to watch for: So far, blacks compose 35.6% of Georgia’s early voting; for comparison, 25% of the 2004 Georgia electorate was black. In North Carolina’s early voting, the partisan breakdown is 54.1% Democrat, 29.7% Republican. Some of this can be attributed to enthusiasm, but these demographic tea leaves are undeniably favorable to Obama
The latest projections:
The Democrats are now favored to take over eight seats from the Republicans: Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, Oregon, and Minnesota. If the Democrats win all eight of those races, they will only need one more to achieve 60 seats, and they have good opportunities in Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky.
The Gray Lady’s Adam Nagourney lists six reasons why the presidential race isn’t over:
1. Still, it is one thing to register to vote; which can often be accomplished by filling out and signing a form provided to you on the street or at your doorstep. It’s quite another to get them to come out and vote. If Mr. Obama’s campaign succeeds at what it has promised, it is possible that Mr. McCain will lose in an Electoral College landslide, winning a bunch of Republican states by slim margins driven by get-out-the-vote operations. Still, first-time voters are inexperienced voters and, Mr. McCain’s advisers are no doubt hoping, less likely to turn out if, say, the weather is bad. (emphasis added)
In a turn of wishful thinking, Republicans now believe Obama’s ground game is less than advertised. Precisely what they base this opinion on is unclear – all empirical evidence points toward the largest, most effective organization in American politics. Take this anecdote from 538, on their battleground state tour:
You could take every McCain volunteer we’ve seen doing actual work in the entire trip, over six states, and it would add up to the same as Obama’s single Thornton, CO office. Or his single Durango, CO office. These ground campaigns bear no relationship to each other.
Or look at the primaries, where organization was the X-factor propelling Obama past Clinton. If Republicans want to take the cross-your-fingers approach, they can prepare to be disappointed on Election Day.
Another one of Nagourney’s reasons:
Some readers have complained about the online spreadsheet lagging, so here’s an updated version available for download (.xls). There’s one new feature: you can change overall voter turnout and allocate the new voters however you like.
We ran a test scenario: increase turnout by twenty percent over ’04 and give the new voters 2:1 to Obama. Results after the jump:
With get-out-the-vote operations playing a critical role this cycle, we’ve put together an online interactive spreadsheet where you can adjust African-American, youth (18-29), and Republican turnout in eighteen states. One possibility:
20% Increase Among Blacks and Youth: Shade both Florida and Nevada blue, providing an additional thirty-two electoral votes that boost Obama’s total to 316. Colorado, Virginia, and Missouri – thirty-three electoral votes combined – narrow to within two percent.
Likelihood: This scenario paints an optimistic electoral map, but one maintaining plausibility. If youth turnout jumps to the national mean, the latter half of the model stands fulfilled. And spurred by the prospect of the first African-American president, blacks could turn out at unprecedented rates.