Louisiana's Senate runoff is Saturday, but voters have already been casting ballots, and the early returns look ugly for Mary Landrieu.
Early-voting rates are down across the board, in almost every demographic group and almost every parish, compared with the early-voting period before the November all-party primary. But that decline has been most acute among groups the Democrat incumbent needs if she is to pull off a victory against challenger Bill Cassidy.
With Landrieu's Senate career on the line, women, registered Democrats, and especially African-Americans were more likely than others to drop out of the runoff's early electorate, according to voting statistics released by the Louisiana secretary of state.
Certainly, early votes are just that—early. The bulk of Louisiana's ballots will come in on Saturday, and Landrieu's campaign argues that those results will help. But at this point, she would need an enormous shift to overcome her early-vote deficit.
Just over 221,000 people cast early ballots for the runoff, compared with more than 245,000 who voted early before the November primary. But more Republicans actually turned out early this time, while 18 percent fewer Democrats cast early ballots. Seven percent fewer men have already voted, but women's early votes have dropped off even more, with a 12 percent decline.