Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ohio Early Voting: Some Real--And Consistent--Data Showing Obama Well Ahead

Today we found two new polls of Ohio voters that contain a separate breakdown of early voters in the Buckeye State. The two are remarkably consistent with each other. Furthermore, one--from Survey USA--is an update of a similar poll taken two weeks ago, and again the results are consistent.

(For a comprehensive compilation of data and surveys on early voting in all states, click here.)

The new Ohio polls give us a pretty clear picture of what's going on in that critical battleground state with respect to early voting: Obama is doing well, McCain not.

First, the two Survey USA polls, taken two weeks apart. In the first, completed on Oct. 13, 12% of the sample said they had already voted. Of those, Obama led 57%-39%. As we noted at the time, however, it was a very small sample and subject to a wide margin of error.

In the second SUSA poll, completed yesterday, 22% of respondents reported they had already voted (which is consistent with reports from a couple populous Ohio counties that about 20-25% of their expected voters have gone to the polls early). Again, Obama led by a wide margin, 56%-39%. This is consistent with the earlier SUSA poll and suggests that the composition of the early vote is not changing much over time.

Finally, we have today a LA Times/Bloomberg poll, also concluded yesterday, in which 21% of the sample reported having already voted--about the same percentage as SUSA recorded. Again, Obama had a hefty lead over McCain among those early voters, 57%-35%. This is quite close to the SUSA numbers, so gives us much more confidence in the results.

Of course, the fact that Obama leads among early voters doesn't mean he's going to win Ohio. It could be that early voters are more enthusiastic Obama supporters and that day of election voters will be different. Nonetheless, with more than 1 in 5 Ohio voters already casting their votes, and with Obama leading by as much as 20 points, McCain clearly has a mountain to climb.

He will need to beat Obama by roughly 52.5%-47.5% on election day just to draw even. Both the SUSA and LAT/Bloomberg polls show him nowhere close to those kind of numbers--indeed, he is trailing in both polls among those who haven't voted.

Time will tell how it plays out, but in this scenario we'd much rather be in Obama's shoes than McCain's.

No comments: