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Republicans Close Gap With Swing-State Early Voters

Last week’s Pew poll found that President Obama is trailing Mitt Romney among early voters — a group he won by a large margin in 2008 — and the latest party identification breakdown of early voters from the United States Election Project and Politico support that:

In Colorado, Republicans have cast 38 percent of the early vote to 35 percent for Democrats and 27 percent for unaffiliated voters. Four years ago, the numbers were reversed: Democrats cast 38 percent, Republicans 36 percent and independents 26 percent.

In Iowa, 43 percent of the early vote this year has been cast by Democrats, 32 percent by Republicans and 24 percent by no party or other. In 2008, the numbers were 47 (D) 29 (R) 24 (NP).

While Nevada doesn’t provide comparative statewide early vote data between 2008 and 2012, a similar pattern emerges in the two counties where the bulk of the state vote will be cast – the Democratic percentage of early votes is down slightly and there’s an uptick in the GOP percentage.

At The Atlantic, Molly Ball also gives a good analysis of North Carolina (Republicans are still trailing, but they’ve significantly closed the gap from ’08) and Florida (same thing). Unfortunately, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania don’t break down voters by party, so analysis there is based on looking at turnout numbers in counties and/or precincts that went heavily for Obama or McCain in 2008. And the early vote turnout is down in Ohio counties Obama won handily in 2008, reports Jim Geraghty.

Obama crushed McCain in the pre-election day vote four years ago, but despite a big push by his campaign and a supposedly unbeatable turnout operation, he’s lagging in key states. In places like Iowa and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, which Obama won by double-digits in 2008, he still has a buffer zone where he can lose some support and still hold on. But he has much less room for error in Ohio. While swing state polls still seem to indicate a slight lead for Obama, many of them also rely on turnout that looks similar to 2008. From what we’re seeing with early voters, that’s not a realistic expectation.


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