Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama Leads In Georgia Early Voting

We've said for some time now that it will be quite interesting to analyze the impact of "early voting" on the presidential election.

About half the states now allow some form of early voting, i.e., where voters can go to a poll and cast their votes prior to election day without regard to restrictive rules on "absentee" voting. Early voting polls are open in many states already.

We think early voting favors Obama and his campaign's elaborate "ground game." Instead of a one-day "get out the vote" push on election day, the campaign can engage in a weeks long effort that truly utilizes all those enthusiastic volunteers. While both sides can do this, Democrats typically have lower turnout numbers in their core constituencies--especially minorities--so there's much greater room for improvement.

Anyway, we reported earlier today that Obama had a lead in the early North Carolina early voting. We now have some data from Georgia as well.

According to a Survey USA poll from Georgia, 18% of the sample (of 547 likely voters) had ALREADY voted. Amongst those voters, Obama leads by 52%-46%. (Note: the margin is closer between the Senate candidates in Georgia, with Democratic challenger Jim Martin leading GOP incumbent Saxby Chambliss by 48%-44% among those who've already voted.) It will be interesting to see how this plays out. While McCain had a lead among "likely voters" who haven't yet voted, we'd say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If something on the order of 30-40% of Georgia voters vote early and Obama keeps a lead of six points, McCain will have quite a deficit to make up on election day.
Similarly, in Iowa, Survey USA reported a couple days ago that 14% of the voters in its sample there had already voted. Among those voters, Obama has an overwhelming lead, 65%-31%.
We'll keep digging around for data on this subject--let us know if you have any other good leads or come across a cogent analysis.


Bluedog said...

Also, continuing economic problems will benefit Obama since voters view him as the stronger of the two candidates when it comes to fixing those problems. If the market were to make a dramatic turn around in the next week (similar to yesterday's performance) then the economy may become less of an issue and that will (could) help McCain. Not that I want the bear market to continue but if it does that will probably help Obama in terms of early voting.

MonkeyGirl said...

Are the results from exit polls or are these actual votes? I was just curious because I know, from my own research experience, what people say and what they do can sometimes vary greatly.

X Curmudgeon said...

Hey Monkey Girl--sounds from your blog like you've been working hard!

The results I have reported are akin to an exit poll. They come from a very small subsample of a Survey USA poll, where respondents are asked if they have already voted.

Accordingly, these results are subject to all kinds of caveats--small subsample, potentially unrespresentative, etc., etc.

Nonetheless, during the primaries, the results from similar polls proved to be pretty reliable.

Take them with a grain of salt, but it's the only data we have right now!

seacare said...

A bird in had is better than two in the bush doesn't really apply here seeing that it's the final tally that will determine the victor. I.E. If Obama were to carry a majority in the early voting that does not equate to anything election day night. In fact, it can have a disastrous impact on his Election Day effort. Consider him being ahead in the pre-vote, would it not motivate McCain's constituents more on Election Day and dissuade Obama's by giving them a false sense of security. In this case he can have the one in hand, but on Election Day he might better wish continuing the hunt or working harder for the two in the bush. I think regardless the results, McCain who is nothing like President Bush or Barack Obama who is one of the most liberal democrats in the senate, the country has made it this long with the ever-changing cycle of electing our leader. We will make it through this one. And when someone says that someone's actions cannot be un-done, that is not quiet true. The tax increases under President Clinton were in effect undone by Bush's tax-cuts in the first year of his presidency. I do hope that the Senate stays republican as to provide a check to our great country leaning too far left, as a democratic congress has done for our current president. While they do not get as much accomplished they at least will serve the function as guard to our prosperity and in becoming socialized beyond where we are now. Oh and sometimes the rule of thumb is, give them enough rope….