Republicans Appear to Be on Rebound in Early Voting

Republicans are catching up to 2012 early voting levels in some key states.

ByABC News
November 3, 2016, 6:45 PM

— -- Donald Trump and Republicans appear to be making up ground in some key swing states, bouncing back to 2012 early voting levels after a slow start in some states, and surpassing past early voting levels in others.

More than 34 million Americans have already cast their ballots, according to data from The Associated Press. In some key states like Florida and Minnesota, more voters have cast their ballots early so far in 2016 than in all of 2012 early voting.

Republicans have made up ground in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada but not improved over 2012. There has been some improvement over 2012 for the GOP in North Carolina and Florida and positive signs continue for the GOP in Ohio and Iowa.

Still, Hillary Clinton's campaign appears to maintain a grip so far on key states to win the 270 electoral votes that would put her in the White House. Here's an update on early voting so far, according to data from ABC News and the Associated Press.


ARIZONA. A week ago, Republicans held a slim 38-37 percent lead in early voting -– a margin the Secretary of State’s office called “absolutely newsworthy” in the typical GOP stronghold. But Republicans have grown to a wider 40-34 percent lead today -– ahead by 80,000 votes. The Secretary of State’s office estimates that more than half of all expected ballots in Arizona have already been cast. Two-thirds of people in Arizona cast their ballots early in 2012. An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll today found early voters there splitting 47 percent for Trump and 44 percent for Clinton.

COLORADO. Republicans have narrowed the gap in Colorado from a 39-34 percent deficit one week ago had a 36-35 percent split today -– now a difference of just 13,000 votes. Still, on this day in 2012, Republicans had a slight advantage over Democrats, 37 percent to 35 percent. Colorado is doing all-mail voting for the first time this year, so the comparison is not ideal.

NEVADA. The margin today is 42 percent for Democrats vs. 37 percent for Republicans –- slightly tighter than the 44-37 percent gap at this point in 2012. That’s roughly a 34,000-vote gap in 2016. Still, it’s tightened slightly from the broad 46-36 percent advantage they had one week ago. Jon Ralston’s blog says this morning: “If Clinton holds her base here … and turnout patterns don't dramatically shift in the last two days of early voting, she can't lose Nevada. Solid lean Clinton right now.”


NORTH CAROLINA: Some core Democratic groups are down from 2012 here. Black voters made up 27 percent of early voters in 2012 but make up only 22 percent of the early vote so far in 2016. White voters have slightly expanded their share of the early voting electorate, from 67 percent in 2012 to 71 percent in 2016. Democrats’ share of the early voting electorate has slipped –- from 48 percent to 43 percent. Republicans match their 2012 share of 32 percent. Democratic women made up 29 percent of the early voting electorate in 2012 vs. only 27 percent this year. But a Quinnipiac University poll yesterday there found Clinton ahead 58-36 percent among people who had already voted.

IOWA. Democrats hold a 43,000-vote lead over Republicans in Iowa so far (43-35 percent). This is slightly smaller than their 63,000-vote advantage at this point in 2012 (43-32 percent). Democrats have turned in 34,000 fewer ballots so far this year vs. a 14,000-vote increase for the GOP from this point in 2012.


FLORIDA. More people have voted in Florida so far than all of 2012 early voting, according to AP data (4,867,113 so far in 2016 vs. 4,789,212 in all of 2012.) Republicans are running virtually even with Democrats at 40 percent of early votes: The GOP holds a 12,000-vote edge. But Democrats were ahead by 76,000 votes at this point in 2012 (43 percent vs. 40 percent). The two parties have been virtually neck-and-neck since early voting started this year. Still, Democrats say Hispanic voters are turning out at new highs. A Quinnipiac University poll yesterday there found a not statistically significant 48-42 percent Clinton-Trump margin among people who had already voted.

OHIO. The number of votes cast from 2012 is down slightly, as well as the number of ballots requested. Some 1.1 million Ohio voters have cast their ballot vs. 1.2 million at this time in 2012 – though data is released weekly so comparisons are difficult. Meanwhile, 1.6 million absentee ballot applications had been requested vs. nearly 2 million in 2012. There are warning signs for Democrats: ballot requests were down in counties Obama had won, but this wasn’t the case in counties Romney had won. A Quinnipiac University poll yesterday there found Clinton ahead 58-32 percent among people who had already voted.

TEXAS. With early in-person voting ending tomorrow, Texas's 2016 early vote numbers continue to outpace ballots cast in 2012. Nearly 3.7 million votes have been cast so far this cycle compared to 3.4 million this time in 2012. While recent shifts in the electorate have softened Republican support in the state, Rice University Political Science Professor Robert Stein told ABC News he expects the state to remain out of reach for Democrats this cycle, with the possibility of a more competitive presidential race in the Lone Star State in 2020.

ABC News' Alana Abramson and John Kruzel contributed to this report.

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