Hillary Clinton and Democrats have reason to smile from early voting patterns

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Monday marks the beginning of early voting in the US presidential election in some of the key battleground states, according to the official voting calendar. Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin are among the states that will offer a chance of early voting.

There are a number of other states where early voting has been ongoing for a number of days, and this means an availability of first hard data on actual voters that may provide a sense of where the 2016 presidential election stands.

However, in looking at these numbers and trends, the underlying presumption is that virtually every registered Democrat will vote for Clinton and every registered Republican will back Donald Trump.

Early voting can be clustered into two: those who find themselves in a situation where they must vote an absentee ballot, for example people living abroad, and those who choose to vote early. For the latter, only the most hardcore political junkies vote the earliest because they follow politics closely, know where the candidates stand, and are comfortable with casting a ballot

Republicans have traditionally not placed much emphasis on early voting, or voter mobilization in general. This is not a deficiency, but a recognition that the Republican coalition is composed primarily of older, wealthier, and better educated people who have established ties to their communities and thus more often fit the profile of a likely voter.

Democratic coalition that is primarily composed of younger, poorer, and less educated people who more frequently move that more often need voter mobilization. These folks are also more often found in urban areas, which are thus fertile ground for campaign offices to base Democratic mobilization efforts.

A look at some of the states where early voting is underway:

North Carolina
North Carolina has been voting since September 9th.With the first three days of absentee by in-person balloting in North Carolina and the conclusion of the sixth week of absentee by mail-in balloting concluded, over 571,000 voters have requested ballots to cast for the November 8th general election, with over 452,000 of these ballots returned and accepted for counting.

Of the total ballots, registered Republicans are 14 percent behind their 2012 same-day totals, registered Democrats are 6 percent behind, and registered unaffiliated voters are 28 percent ahead of their same-day totals from four years ago. This means that the race in North Carolina will be determined by Independents. Who will win them over?

Overall, available data shows that there is a surge in white voters and a drop in black voters.

Maine
Maine splits its Electoral College votes, awarding one delegate to the winner of each congressional districts and two to the overall winning

The number of requests in the First Congressional District looks similar to 2012, again with a slightly lower pace among unaffiliated. In the Second Congressional District requests are down across the board, with the steepest decline among registered Democrats

Iowa
Polling in Iowa indicates Donald Trump has a narrow lead over Clinton, and the early voting statistics may back this up. However, Iowa got off to a slower start than 2012 in printing its absentee ballots and it could be that the parties delayed their absentee ballot drives. As evidence of campaign effects, it is instructive to compare registered Republicans’ absentee ballot requests to 2014 (the 2014 same-day comparison is off by two days since the Iowa Secretary of State did not begin reporting until Sept. 21, 2014), when the party initiated more a robust absentee ballot drive campaign than in 2012. Democratic absentee ballot requests are down from 2012 by about a half, while Republican requests are down from 2014 by about a third. Again, this could be a campaign effect, but the numbers are consistent with Maine’s Second Congressional District, showing Trump doing better where Democrats are less engaged.

Nevada.

After two days, the raw vote lead in urban Nevada for the Democrats is close to 21,000. (Most rural counties closed on Sundays, and those numbers, while they favor Republicans, are tiny in comparison.)

Overall, the in person early voting in Nevada stands as follows:
88,331 statewide

46,062 Dem (52%)
26,240 Rep (29%)

Inclusive of the absentee ballots, the total votes stand as follows:
111,061 statewide
55,001 Dem (50%)

35,516 Rep (32%)

Florida:

With almost 1.2 million votes already cast by mail in Florida by Monday morning, the Republicans have a 20,000-person advantage in returns. The state has another 1.9 million ballots out that have not been cast. Early in-person voting starts today (Monday) in some Florida counties.

Ohio

The five counties with the largest vote by mail requests thus far — Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit — account for over 40 percent of current ballot requests across the entire state — just like in 2012.

In Ohio counties carried by President Barack Obama, the mail-in requests are down by roughly 12 percent. But in counties carried by Mitt Romney, they’re only about 7 percent lower. In Cuyahoga County, Democrats are only at 53 percent of their early vote total from the 2012 election, when the process started a week earlier. But Republicans already are at 95 percent, with two weeks to go. (Independents are at 76 percent.)