The impact of early voting in N.C.

In the latest Elon University Poll, President Obama was leading Gov. Romney among early voters by a margin of 55% to 37%.

For what it’s worth, that differentiates North Carolina from other states. According to Pew Research Center polling:  “Currently, Romney holds a seven-point edge among early voters (50% to 43%); because of the small sample, this lead is not statistically significant. At this point four years ago, Obama led John McCain by 19 points (53% to 34%) among early voters.”

Will it matter? Probably. But not necessarily in Obama’s favor. Early estimates are that about 50% of ballots cast in N.C. will be cast early.

The Obama campaign has been encouraging its supporters to vote early. I get daily messages from Michelle Obama on Twitter to vote early. (I don’t follow her. Her messages are retweeted by others.)

But the Washington Post notes: “Democrats’ leads in Nevada, North Carolina and Iowa continue to shrink. Even as Democrats will assuredly turn out more early voters in all three states, they are on pace to gain less from early voting than they did in 2008.

Democrats have some cushion in Iowa and Nevada, where they won in 2008 by 10 and 12 points, respectively (more on that here). But they won by less than 1 percent in North Carolina, so the fact that they are behind their early-voting pace from four years ago could bode well for the GOP.”

And further analysis from USA Today: “But Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director, noted in a memo on Sunday that early voting is up 24% among young voters and 23% among African Americans, two groups that helped propel Obama to an upset victory in North Carolina four years ago.

However, at this point in 2008, Republicans note they were being out-voted by Democrats in 12 of 100 counties. This time around Republicans are outvoting Democrats in 27 counties. Republicans have also improved their margin against Democrats in 98 of 100 counties compared with this same time in 2008.”

— John Robinson

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