According to the United States Elections Project, the number of early votes cast this year has already exceeded the total number of early votes that were cast in 2012.
Earlier this week, the number exceeded 30 million and currently, it is at least 34 million votes. In 2012, the total number of early votes were 32.3 million.
The data does have its limitations because it is collected through local election boards, providing only a narrow picture of the nation’s early voting numbers.
Though early voting usually is a good sign for Democrats, looking inside the numbers shows that it is not necessarily so. For example, there is a decline in the black vote, which is certainly not a good sign for Democrats.
Black turnout is down in battleground North Carolina, something that even President Obama seemed to be addressing when he spoke in the state on Wednesday. Obama pointed to the recent appellate court decision that struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law which the Court said was crafted to suppress African American vote with “surgical precision.”
At the same time, while the ‘Obama coalition’ may not be turning out at the same levels for Clinton yet, the numbers show that Clinton may be making it up in other ways. For instance, in both North Carolina and Florida, early voting by women, Latinos, and other minorities that strongly favor Clinton are actually higher than they were in 2012.
“The African American turnout is problematic for the Democrats, but it may not be a death knell for them because there’s other ways in which they can make that back up through other changes to the electorate,” said early voting expert Michael McDonald.
McDonald also believes that based on the early vote numbers, Nevada and Colorado are “solidifying in Clinton’s favor.”
At the same time, Trump is looking very strong in Iowa and Ohio, both of which President Obama won in 2012.