Early voting on Tuesday in NC was similar to early voting on Monday. 162,308 (plus unreported votes) people voted Tuesday, and Obama continues to expand on his (estimated!) 93,595 vote lead over Romney in banked votes. However, it appears that he is a bit below his 2008 margin at the same time 4 years ago vs. McCain. The reason why this is the case it that White Republicans are voting early at a higher rate than in 2008.
But the question is, does this actually really help Romney? Is Romney actually expanding the total number of votes he will get by turning out Republicans who did not vote in 2008, or is he merely transferring votes that McCain got from election day to early voting? We'll look at some evidence below.
To slightly modify the analogy I used on Day 3, this is the difference between using a tax loophole to avoid paying $10,000 in taxes and moving $10,000 from your Swiss bank account to your Cayman Islands bank account. Only the first transaction actually makes Mitt Romney wealthier (in other words, gets him more net total votes).
Click on the picture below for a full sized chart.
How many 2012 Early Voters also voted early in 2008?
To try and figure out whether or not the increased White Republican turnout is actually making Mitt Romney wealthier in votes, we'll take a look at what share of people who have voted early in 2012 also voted early in 2008.
We can see that out of 241,528 White registered Republicans who have voted already in 2012, 78,082 of them did not vote early in 2008.
We can also see that there is almost exactly the same number - 78,022 - of African Americans who have voted early in 2012 but did not vote early in 2008.
In addition, when you also count other Minority groups (Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc) and White Democrats, there are 134,876 people, most of whom will have voted for Obama, who have already voted in 2012 but did not vote early in 2008. These 134,876 people are the 135k referenced in the diary's title.
Overall, this means that the share of White registered Republicans who have already voted in 2012 and who voted early in 2008 is 68%.
Similarly, the share of Minority + White registered Democrats who have already voted in 2012 and who voted early in 2008 is 70%.
Honestly, I am not quite sure of the best way to interpret this. But what I would have expected if Romney is really doing a good job of banking votes that he otherwise would not get on election day, that percentage should be significantly lower for White Republicans than for minorities and Democrats. Why? Because:
Since we know that John McCain won election day voters in a landslide in 2008, Romney simply has a bigger pool of 2008 election day voters to pull from election day voting into early voting. If Romney were doing a disproportionately better job in adding brand new votes than Obama, that should, I would think, show up in these numbers. But it doesn't seem to be there.
In order to really answer the question of whether Romney is getting wealthier in votes, or whether he is really just transferring some votes from his election day bank account to his early vote bank account, what we would need to do is look at how many of the people who have voted early in 2012 but did not vote early in 2008 voted on election day in 2008, as opposed to not having voted at all in 2008.
I would suspect that Obama is doing a better job of turning out that last not having voted at all category than in Romney, and if he is, that's the way that he can win North Carolina.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell that information is not freely downloadable from the NC Board of Elections (but if anyone else can find it, let me know!).
Still, even with all the uncertainties, I think it's pretty clear that you'd rather be in President Obama's position ahead by ≈ 93,000 votes than in Romney's position, behind by ≈ 93,000 votes.
Maybe there are some people out there who think they know who will win North Carolina, but I am certainly not one of them... So, ... GOTV!
White GOP Turnout continues to exceed 2008 levels:
As does Minority + White Dem turnout!:
Obama's cumulative estimated margin has fallen a bit below 2008 so far this week. But remember, the whole question of whether that actually makes Romney wealthier is discussed extensively above:
And you can see the difference on Monday and Tuesday in the daily margins (but note that more votes keep being reported by counties - I am still adding every day more votes that were apparently cast even before OSEV started!!!):
Obama's cumulative percentage is dragged down by the higher GOP turnout (even if in actual raw votes it is cancelled out by higher Dem turnout).
And we see the same sort of thing on the daily percentages chart: