Thursday, October 23, 2008

Early Voting in North Carolina

There is no doubt that early voting statistics are bringing a lot of good news for Democrats in North Carolina.

I would caution against getting too hyper about it. For instance blacks have so far made up almost 29% of the electorate. It's important to keep in mind that during the primary 40% of early Democratic primary voters were black, but they only ended up comprising 34% of the total electorate when you factored in the election day voters. These early figures reflect a definite enthusiasm gap. It's also a lot easier to vote early in larger counties where a ton of sites are open at a wide variety of hours- those sorts of places tend to be more Democratic. Both those things said, the news is very good.

On the North Carolina tracking poll this week we'll ask people whether they've voted yet or not, and we will dig deep into those numbers on Monday to try to get a picture of what sort of electorate we can expect going into election day as well as whatever lessons we can learn about the voting preferences of those who have already cast their ballots- down ballot fatigue, ticket splitting, etc.

We're also going to have new polls next week for NC-8 and Wake County, each of which should give us a more detailed view of what's happening in some key parts of the state.


Mathis said...

Hey Tom, thanks for the update. I'm wondering if, when you go deep into the numbers of early voters, you can find out whether young voters are actually turning out to vote. I think it's obvious that African-Americans will turn out in big numbers, but I'm a bit concerned that this election has gone on too long and young voters are already turned off and burnt out and might not vote in historic numbers.

Will Cubbison said...

Tom, at the current rate of early voting, if African Americans made up say 17 or 18 % of day of votes, what would be their final amount? 20%? 23%?

Could give us a big hint about the Nov. 4 results.

nc redhead said...

I just voted here today in Wake County and very impressive turnout. While women, blacks and Democrats are turning out big time, I am not seeing big youth turnout so far. I would love to know more about what is going on there....again Maybe Mathis is right and they are turned off. You would think with the dim job prospects that they would finally wake up and realize that this is serious business. I don't know that college student numbers are inflated for NC but I do think many are not registered here and/or just don't vote.

thisniss said...

All my questions answered. Yay. Thank you! Ticket splitting is definitely something I'm interested in, just based on historical precedent in NC. I don't think there is any precedent (at least, not in "modern" memory) for a Dem trifecta at the top of the ticket. North Carolina seems to breed ticket-splitters, which is part of why I've doubted Purdue's chances more as Obama's and Hagan's numbers have gone up.

But perhaps this is the year a new precedent will be set - and perhaps the Munger factor will help just enough to push Purdue over the ticket-splitting edge. Or maybe the sheer weight of new voters who aren't genetically predisposed to skip the "straight ticket" option will make the difference. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Darn it all.

thisniss said...

Oh, and about that "youth vote turnout" thing: NC Early Vote started at the same time that the UNC system and many other NC colleges/universities went on Fall Break. I don't have empirical evidence, but I suspect that a rash of students leaving town for the long weekend might have depressed early Early turnout, if you know what I mean. I wouldn't let the numbers get you down yet, though. They'll turn out. They are not checked out or turned off - although, like the rest of us, they are exhausted by the length of this campaign. But interest and participation in this election is still unprecedented, and I don't think (based on my experiences at/around UNC-CH) that you need to worry too much about a drop-off in votes there.

Anonymous said...

Rasmussen's newest poll looks to suffer from wrong party demographics.

Using what they gave us regarding breakdown by party, if we weigh to a 46-33-21 split, Obama is up 5 points, about where Tom has it.

They appear to have Obama doing better among Democrats than Tom does, but worse among independents.

Anonymous said...

How does ramussen have NC broken down by party? I can't see their crosstabs.

Anonymous said...

They don't let us see the crosstabs, but give us a few hints - McCain wins 89% of Republicans, Obama 87% of Democrats, and McCain leads 17 points among Independents.

Since there are only 2% undecideds, we can guess that the splits are roughly 89-9 Republicans, 87-11 Democrats, 57-40 independents.

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