The general election is now 10 days away, and early voting has passed the halfway mark. We have been following the early voting numbers on a daily basis, and what we’ve noticed so far is as follows:
(1) The volume of early voting (66500 so far) suggests a turnout greater than the October primary but less than the 2007 statewide election – in other words, we see turnout in the 27-40% range in November;
(2) (UPDATED 10/24 PM) Early voting has been good for the Republicans so far – despite the fact that they are outnumbered 2 to 1 in voter registration, they have (so far) only trailed Democrats 44-46%;
(3) Black early voting was initially 22% of the total, thanks to strong activity in Evangeline, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, and St Landry. Since then, it has dropped to 20% of the total. While this is above the 16/17% portion of the total in the 2007 statewide elections, it is below the 24% of the October early vote;
(4) In the larger parishes, Republican early voting volume has been good , with good numbers in East Baton Rouge, St Tammany, and Jefferson, which is only partially offset by Democratic early voting in Orleans Parish;
(5) Early voting on either side of the “Cypress Curtain” (explained here) has been nearly identical;
We make somewhat of a big deal about the early vote volume because when the Legislature essentially established “no fault” early voting several years ago, more and more people have chosen to early vote, so a constituency of 5-15% of the total vote is something a politician would be foolish to ignore – especially in a closely contested race (10% of those who voted in the October 2010 primary voted early – we believe the early voting percentage will be similar on November 2). These early voting numbers are the ones that are typically reported on the TV screen several minutes after polls close at 8 PM.
As a final note, we have attached the partisan composition of the absentee vote for each parish