In a number of swing states that will decide the presidential election, there’s now been enough early voting to give us a feel for who is turning out, and it doesn’t quite match the polling.
Here’s what we do know…
We know how many people requested mail-in ballots and what percentage of those requests came from Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated.
We know how many early votes have been counted and what percentage of those votes come from Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated.
We know that the conventional wisdom is that Democrats win the early voting and Republicans win Election Day voting. In other words, Democrats need to build a sizable early vote lead to beat the GOP on Election Day because Republicans prefer to vote in-person on Election Day.
What’s more, Democrats have been placing more emphasis on early voting this year than ever before. I’m not sure how wise that is, considering mail-in ballots are rejected at a much higher rate than in-person, but that’s the Democrat 2020 game plan.
Here’s what we don’t know…
We don’t know who specifically any of these people voted for. What I mean is, we don’t know who the unaffiliateds are voting for. We don’t know how many Democrats voted for Trump or how many Republicans voted for Biden.
With all those caveats in mind, let’s start with Texas.
According to the RealClearPolitics poll of polls, Trump is only up by 2.6 points in a state he won by nine points in 2016. Quinnipiac has the race all tied up at 47 percent. A Dallas Morning News poll released just today actually has Trump losing to Biden, 45 to 48 percent.
But look at the early voting in Texas. More than 6.7 million votes have been returned, an increase of 218 percent (that’s not a typo — 218 percent) over 2016, and 53 percent of those early votes come from Republicans, while only 37 percent come from Democrats and ten percent are unaffiliated.
Those are actual votes, which means only one of three things is possible… 1) the Texas polling is horribly wrong, 2) a ton of Republicans are voting for Biden, or 3) Democrats are going to defy what we know of their voting patterns and make this up on Election Day.
Now let’s look at Michigan…
According to the poll of polls, Trump is getting killed in Michigan by 7.8 points, a state he won by 0.3 points in 2016.
But look at the early voting in Michigan. Of the 3.1 million mail-in ballots requested, 41 percent of those requests came from Republicans and only 39 percent came from Democrats.
Of the two million ballots returned, the GOP still leads by two points, 41 to 39 percent. I should add that early voting returns are up 206 percent in Michigan compared to 2016.
Finally, let’s look at Ohio, where, in a state Trump won by 8.1 points, the pollsters are telling us the race between Biden and Trump is tied.
But look at the early voting numbers in Ohio. With 2.1 million ballots returned, Republicans are walloping Democrats 48 to 39 percent with 13 percent unaffiliated. Early vote returns in Ohio are up 123 percent over 2016.
In Florida, the early vote trends are starting to freak out the left-wing Politico, who sounded the alarm on Sunday.
“Florida Republicans are pouring out of the trenches,” an alarmed Politico writes. “After weeks of Democrats outvoting them by mail, Republican voters stormed early voting precincts in person this week, taking large bites out of their opponents’ historic lead in pre-Election Day ballots.”
Here’s a key metric Politico reports on that should very much worry Team Biden: “According to TargetSmart’s analysis, Black voters aged 18 to 29 have cast 15.8 percent of the total ballots so far in Florida. That’s half a percentage point down from the same period in 2016.”
So far, and keep in mind this is still early, Biden is underperforming Hillary Clinton in a key demographic in a key swing state.
We have nine long days to go, so anything could still happen. But there are enough early votes to at least get a sense of who’s voting, and as of right now, unless a whole lot of Republicans are voting for Biden, in these states at least, I’d rather be Trump than Biden.