Sunday, October 21 was another big day for African American voter turnout in North Carolina. 10,188 African Americans voted Sunday in NC, many of them after church as part of the "souls to the polls" movement. In comparison, only 4,980 White Republicans voted Sunday in NC. Overall, Sunday turnout was (at least) 24,357, whereas in 2008 it was 15,083, meaning that Sunday turnout was up (at least) 61.5% over 2008 levels. These numbers may go up as more counties report their totals.
Click on the picture below for a full sized chart.
It seems that White Evangelicals in NC may not be all that enthusiastic about voting for Mitt Romney, at least in comparison to the enthusiasm African American voters in NC feel about voting for Barack Obama. Billy Graham has taken out ads trying to motivate the religious right to "Vote for Biblical values" (apparently that is supposed to mean voting for Mitt Romney). But if that has prompted some sort of religious right voting wave, it is doing an excellent job of camouflaging itself in the early voting statistics. On Sunday, African American turnout in NC was more than double White Republican turnout.
Here's the scene from Raleigh (pic from OFA's twitter feed):
Overall, early vote turnout is now up by 38.0% in NC above where it was at the same time in 2008. Yesterday it was up by 36.6%, but more votes from previous days keep trickling in from slow reporting counties. As a result, Obama's vote margins keep improving from previous days.
Projecting based off of demographics and party registration (for example, giving Obama 99% of the votes cast by African American Democrats and giving Romney 96% of the votes cast by White Republicans), President Obama is ahead in NC by something like 271,155 votes to 218,800 votes, which equals a margin of 52,355 total votes. Just so that nobody misunderstands, these vote numbers are estimates, not actual vote totals. For methodological details, see my Day 1 Diary.
In 2008, at this same time in the early voting period, Obama was up by about 203,552 to 148,968 over John McCain, which is a margin of 54,584 total votes. So it appears that Obama is in about the same position as he was in 2008 in terms of vote margin, but turnout among both Democrats and Republicans is a heck of a lot higher.
Of course, this avalanche of early voting is not a unique event occurring only in North Carolina. The same thing is happening across the country, especially in swing states where OFA's unprecedented ground game is deployed, like Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Colorado. The only difference is that the data released in NC is more detailed than in other states, so we can see with more clarity how early voting is playing out.
Turnout continues to be up among White Republicans:
But it continues to be the case that it is not up enough to offset the increased Minority and White Dem turnout:
The cumulative vote margin is basically tracking 2008:
But the daily vote margin chart shows that it hasn't been tracking 2008 exactly evenly across time. Obama was a bit behind where he was in 2008 before in person OSEV voting started, but in more recent days (especially Saturday) has been ahead of his 2008 pace:
The cumulative vote percentage chart shows the vote percentages for Obama. Even though higher GOP turnout is being cancelled out by higher Dem turnout in terms of vote margins, the percentages are dragged down a bit:
And the daily vote percentage chart shows the same thing:
Bottom line: If anyone thinks that Obama can't win North Carolina, they would be well advised to take a look at the early voting numbers. It's all about turnout and voting, and who votes wins.