NC Republicans Closing Early Voting Gap? 5 Straight Days of Gains in Vote Percentage

RALEIGH – While there is no way to really know who partisan voter are pulling the lever for in the ballot box, data on how many Rs, Ds, and Us are casting ballots via mail or early voting can offer clues. The absentee vote this year will be historic, on account of Pandemic Panic, but the early vote numbers have plenty of recent history to be compared too.

It’s probably common knowledge among the politically interested that Democrats tend to dominate the early vote. Overall, too, general registration numbers favor Democrats. So, seeing that 40-some percent of voters are Democrat and only 20-some percent are Republicans (the rest unaffiliated) is not necessarily noteworthy.

But how the voter streams ebb and flow over the early voting period can mean all the difference. Democrats may start out strong, and then dry up more or faster than usual.

Off to a roaring start that could lead to breaking records for turn out, early voting in North Carolina has understandably ebbed a bit. Within that current, though, is interesting swirl; it’s data showing D votes, as a percentage of the total vote, falling, while the R percentage continues to rise.

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Where that settles over the next two weeks will be the ultimate tell, but this same D-drop-off trend was in play when North Carolina went Red in 2012, and 2016.

As noted by Professor Larry Schweikart:


With the chance of extraordinary voter turn out, those final percentages could be extraordinary as well. For what it’s worth, in the last two cycles, Republicans approaching 32 percent of the vote saw the state go Red for president, much of congress, and governor (once).

Will Republicans turn out in growing force from here on out? Can Democrats sustain enough early vote momentum to keep the election in play?

You can certainly exercise your influence over the outcome of the first question, if you haven’t already.

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