Early Voting Casts Doubt on the Enthusiasm Gap

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Over three million Americans have already voted in the midterm elections, and so far at least, the numbers don't quite reflect the widespread narrative of an enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats. While Republican turnout has been robust, Democrats are reporting a better picture than expected. Here's a look at a few of the conclusions people have drawn from available early data.

  • Both Parties Report Good News  At The New York Times, Michael Shear reports that Democrats in Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio seem happy with the results of their get-out-the-vote campaign. But, Shear writes, "Republicans say they are equally pleased with the early voting results. In Iowa, Republicans are trailing Democrats in the number of ballots requested and turned in, but by a far smaller margin than in 2008."
  • Pro-Dem 'Pattern Is Emerging' "Republicans are doing better than in 2008," writes Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. "But in a lot of cases not as well as the current wave election narrative would lead you to expect." Marshall adds the caveat that "we don't know how people are voting. We just know the party registration of those who are voting." He also says it's possible that "Democrats built up such an effective early voting infrastructure in 2006 and 2008 that they're still turning people out early in disproportionate numbers even if the total number of Democratic votes on election night are much smaller than those for the GOP."
  • Not So Fast; Republicans Are Doing Fine  At National Review, Jim Geraghty quotes a reader who reports that "in every state where there is partisan split data for both years, the Republicans have gained in early voting." This includes Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Florida, as well as two counties in Nevada.
  • Still, Colorado Not a Disaster for Dems  The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder runs the numbers for Colorado and finds that contrary to popular belief, "there is no Republican surge/tsunami/wave/upwelling/flood/what-have-you. Democrats are 'losing' statewide, but they're losing at a pace that is similar to the pace they were losing in 2008, when they won the state."
  • And Nevada Looks Good for Reid  Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway suggests cautiously that Democrat Harry Reid's campaign against Republican Sharron Angle "has motivated Nevada Democrats to get out and vote... If we're still seeing a Democratic and Republican voters heading to the polls early in relatively equal numbers, it could mean that Harry Reid will win this one."
  • Early Polling Isn't the Be-All, End-All, notes Molly Ball at Politico. For example, when California used early voting in 2006, "each party drew 41 percent, a performance that was below Democratic registration and well above the Republican share." Ball goes on to say that "even with complete statistics at hand, party breakdowns only mean so much. Turnout numbers don’t translate exactly into votes—registered partisans may cross party lines, and the independent vote is frequently decisive."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.