As early voting results come in, analysts are already able to filter through what the record number turnouts mean for the presidential candidates. As things stand now, Trump is outperforming Romney in key swing states across the country.
One factor to keep in mind when looking at early returns – Democrats like to vote early. They make up the majority of early returns whereas Republicans always come out in force on Election Day. Democrats edging Republicans before Election Day is a normal occurrence that is actually factored into pre-election analysis.
Florida is critical for Trump to win. So far, he has reason to be optimistic. Obama bested Romney in early voting by a total of around 177,000 (3.7 percent). Romney went on to close the gap on Election Day by losing to Obama by less than a percentage point.
As of right now, Clinton’s Florida lead on Trump is only 90,000 votes. That is a huge underperformance by Clinton and well within Romney’s 2012 Election Day comeback. Team Clinton should be worried.
North Carolina is looking similar with Trump outperforming Romney in the Tar Heel state. Last-minute polls showed a Clinton lead, but early results are looking Trump’s way. Despite Democratic turnout at 1.3 million compared to Republicans 900,000; 125,000 more Republicans voted at this time in 2012 while fewer Democrats have turned out. If the trend continues, Trump should win North Carolina.
Analysis is a bit trickier in Ohio. Team Clinton is boasting a higher turnout so far, but Republicans have pointed to under performance in Democratic strongholds as sign for a Trump victory. Cuyahoga County is the “blue wall” of Ohio. Obama racked up a huge lead in this county that encompasses Cleveland – a lead that kept the state blue. 253,512 fewer early votes were cast than this time in 2012, suggesting depressed turnout for Democratic voters. We have also seen lower turnout in the liberal bastions of Franklin, Hamilton, and Summit counties.
Nevada is one state where early returns aren’t looking their brightest for Trump. Record breaking turnout and long lines in Hispanic-heavy Clark County has made some Republicans worried. In fact, Team Trump challenged the lateness of some of the poll closings in Clark County – which was promptly thrown out by the judge, citing all voters held played by the rules and were in line before the polls closed. Many are crediting Harry Reid’s operation in the state for the strong Democratic turnout.
One possible wild card for tonight: Michigan. Matt reported on the higher-than-expected turnout of white working-class voters in the Wolverine State. Strong numbers in western Michigan, which is working class populated, are surprising and may make for an interesting play. Should Trump lose Nevada, he will need to snag a state from Clinton’s “blue fire wall.” Michigan is a potential state he could flip.