Although the early voting numbers in North Carolina so far have been very exciting for Democrats so far I am sorry to report that it appears they'll revert to normal.
So far 28% of early voters have been black. We weighted our poll to 21% black turnout, and that made the percentage of black early voters in our poll 31%, pretty similar to what it has actually been. That leads me to continue to believe African Americans will account for 20-22% of the electorate, as I have thought all along.
Looking at it another way, 49% of blacks in our survey said they had already voted. Only 29% of white voters said the same. If the whites planning to vote actually do follow through and do it the racial demographics of the North Carolina electorate will end up being almost identical to the state's population. Keep in mind this is still a big improvement from 2004 when blacks accounted for just 18.5% of general election voters.
The party figures for early voters in our poll also closely match what they have actually been so far. The true figures have been 55% Democrats, 28% Republicans, and 17% independents. On our poll it came out 57-25-18. The party breakdown of those who have not voted yet but plan to for our survey is 44% Democrats, 40% Republicans, and 17% independents. So the party imbalance should revert to the 13-14% registration edge Democrats in the state hold as well.
Nonetheless the numbers on who has already voted are good news for Democrats on several fronts:
-Not only is Obama winning 63-36 overall in votes already in the bank, but he's up 60-34 with independents who have turned out already. There's been a huge spike in independent voters this year, and they certainly seem to be leaning toward Obama.
-There is also very good news for Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue. There's been a lot of concern about whether Obama's supporters would just cast a vote for him and go home, or fill out the entire ballot. Among those who have already voted for Obama 92% said they also voted for Hagan and 91% said they also voted for Perdue. By a small degree that's a higher margin of party unity than the Republicans are showing- 89% of those who say they already voted for John McCain also say they voted for Elizabeth Dole and Pat McCrory.
Bottom line on the early voters: it's a lot better to go into election day with a huge lead than not!