VA Attorney General: Early Voting Favors Romney

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli examined the early voting totals in Virginia and observed the numbers favor Romney going into Election Day on Tuesday.

Cuccinelli wrote to supporters and declared that Republican-leaning areas have seen an increase in early voting from 2008, while localities which Obama won in 2008 have seen declines in their early voting totals from 2008.

These early voting numbers -- and Cuccinelli's analysis -- indicate that Obama would need turnout to match or surpass that of 2008 and to win independent voters if he is to win on Election Day. Nearly every poll shows Romney leading among independents in Virginia, and Democrats will likely not have the six-point advantage they had at the polls in 2008. 

Cuccinelli observed that "in 2008, over 506,000 absentee votes were cast," and Republicans lost to Democrats by 28 points (64% - 36%), which was about a 150,000 vote margin. 

Obama won the state by six points in 2008. Cuccinelli notes that Republicans lost Virginia in 2008 by 235,000 votes, so the absentee margin was half of Obama's total margin of victory four years ago. 

As of Friday, there were 357,000 absentee votes cast, which is barely over 70% of 2008's numbers. 

"That's bad for them," Cuccinelli wrote. "Hopefully, it gets worse."

According to Cuccinelli, nine of the top 10 and 71 out of the top 100 absentee voter turnout localities this year are areas in which Bush and McCain won in 2004 and 2008.

On the other hand, "the absentee turnout among Kerry 2004 localities this year is only 65% of the 2008 levels" and the "absentee turnout among localities Obama won in 2008 is 68%."

Cuccinelli took the 64/26 split from 2008 and applied it to this year's absentee votes and got these numbers:

          64% of 357,000 votes cast so far equals about 229,000 votes.

           36% is approximately 128,000 votes.

           That's a 101,000 vote margin in their favor; however,

           That's almost 50,000 less votes than their 2008 margin among absentees.

Cuccinelli noted even if "Democrats keep the same percentage of votes among absentees, the turnout change alone has already cut more than one-fifth of the total vote gap from 2008."

On the other hand, absentee turnout among Bush 2004 localities is 75% and 76% among McCain 2008 localities. 

Cuccinelli noted that if Democrats only have a ten-point margin in absentee voting -- which he said was a reasonable estimation -- then the math would look like this:

     55% of 357,000 votes cast so far equals 188,000 votes.

            45% is approximately 169,000 votes.

            That's a mere 19,000 vote margin - 130,000 fewer than in 2008 among absentees!

Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting for Romney than Democrats are about Obama in Virginia. Turnout in coal country has been reflective of what polls have found regarding the level of enthusiasm for Romney in Virginia, which means Obama most likely has not banked enough early votes to save him on Election Day if these numbers hold.

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