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Pastor Eddie Walker, of the In Gods Time Tabernacle, waits in line with parishioners from several area churches as they take part in early voting in Orlando, Florida October 28, 2012.  Errol Thompson, a Baptist pastor in Orlando's black community, acknowledges that the excitement over Barack Obama becoming the first black U.S. president has cooled. But with the Democratic president locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Thompson still expects voter turnout in Florida for the November 6 election to be equal to or greater than it was four years ago. To make sure of that, he and other black church leaders across Florida are organizing a mass effort, dubbed
Voters cast ballots Sunday in Orlando. I hope they voted for Obama.
Actually, it's yesterday in early voting. Information on the latest numbers from Iowa, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are all below the fold!

Short of it—our people are turning out. But Republicans are turning out in bigger numbers, relative to 2008. That's because they actually have a GOTV operation this year, unlike John McCain. That doesn't mean they're winning. It means that the Democratic advantage in the early vote is smaller this year than it was in 2008.

But here's the thing—Republican voters are reliable voters, whiter, older, better off. That's why we have those big gaps between registered and likely voters in the polling.

Thus, an early vote for us is a vote that might not have been there on Election Day. The same can't be said of the GOP. Their vote will be cast whether early or late, come hell or high water.

I fully expect the polling to tighten over the next week as pollsters tally "already voted" respondents that they might've filtered out with their likely voter screens. And as we've seen consistently, President Barack Obama has dominant leads with those early voters.

Anyway, let's look at some of the key state data, below the fold.

Florida

Republicans did their best to restrict voting opportunities in this state. While other battlegrounds have been voting for weeks, Florida had its first two early voting days over the weekend:

The Department of State said as of Monday morning, nearly 1.4 million people had cast absentee ballots and more than 500,000 people cast ballots in person during the early voting period that began Saturday.

The vote is nearly evenly split by party, with 784,444 ballots cast by Democrats and 774,304 ballots cast by Republicans. More than 307,000 ballots have been cast by voters who don't belong to either major party.

The total represents nearly 16 percent of Florida's 11.9 million voters.

In 2008, the Democratic early vote ended up 45.6 percent Democratic, 37.3 percent Republican. Sounds dire! Except that Republicans have always led the absentee ballots, and they were winning those 44-39 before in-person voting began.

Democrats focus on the in-person stuff, and have erased that five-point GOP advantage in just two days of in-person early voting:

Party     Early Vote     %
DEM   251,110   49%
REP   177,958   35%
IND   84,121   16%
TOTAL   513,189
Iowa

In 2008, about 47 percent of the early vote was Democratic, compared to 29 percent Republican. So far this year, it's 44.6 percent Democratic, 32.1 percent Republican.

In 2008, 31.6 percent of the vote was cast early, or 481,179 votes. We're already close to matching that this year, with 470,801 ballots cast. So doing some quick math, that's a nearly 59,000-vote edge for Democrats. It's not as large as 2008, but that's not surprising. The Romney campaign is more organized than whatever broke thing John McCain had, and they've been pushing early voting as well.

But here's a stat that speaks to intensity: Dems requested 43.7 percent of all early ballots, and have cast 44.6 percent of the total. Republicans requested 30.8 percent of all early ballots, and have returned 32.1 percent of the total. So Republicans are slightly outperforming Democrats on this measure.

Want more data? FightingRegistrar has some for you.

Nevada

Ralston:

So five days of early voting left and the state of play: The Democrats have a lead, but not one that guarantees victory for President Obama. Republicans, though, have to be worried about Washoe County, where the Democrats have been building a small lead -- it's about 1,600 votes or so now. Republicans will win Election Day there and elsewhere. But if the Democrats keep it close in Washoe, it's almost impossible to see a path to a Romney victory.

The latest numbers (no mail counted Sunday) in Clark:

Democrats -- 146,937, or 49 percent
Republicans -- 99,515, or 33 percent
Others -- 54,540, or 18 percent

You want more Nevada numbers? FightingRegistrar has those as well.

North Carolina

I'll outsource this to MattTX. Seriously, read his stuff every morning. But a quick overview:

Dems have opened up an estimated 133,905-vote advantage on Romney. That's smaller than the 198,059-vote edge Obama had at this point in 2008. Republicans are certainly voting earlier than last time, when McCain had no North Carolina ground game to speak of. But, more Democrats have voted than at this point four years ago. So there's no intensity gap, no falloff in Democratic support. Check this out.

30% of African Americans in North Carolina age 18+ have already voted.

That's 440,941 voters - 30% of North Carolina's entire 1,480,769 person African American voting age population counted by the Census Bureau in 2010.

That's not 30% of African American registered voters. That's 30% of all African American adults. Because, for one more week in North Carolina, you can register to vote and actually cast your ballot at the same time, all in one stop. So even if a would-be voter is not registered to vote right now, they can still register and vote.

Obama entered Election Day with a 267,000-vote advantage in early votes, and saw that whittled down 230,000 votes on that final day. Question is, will Romney have that much juice on Election Day this year, or will his voters simply have shifted forward by a week or two?

Either way, this one ain't over folks, and even if we lose, this strong early vote means Republicans have to keep focusing here when they'd rather try and expand the map.

Pennsylvania

As of today the GOP's lead is 18.8% w/ absentee ballots in PA -- http://t.co/... #GOPmomentum alive and well !
@Reince via Twitter for iPhone

Pennsylvania doesn't have no-excuse early voting because the state's GOP leadership did everything in its power to make it as hard as possible to vote. So what Reince is talking about is absentee ballots, mostly cast by elderly GOP-leaning voters. In 2008, according to the GOP's data (which may or may not be legit), Republicans won the absentee vote by two points en route to a 10-point statewide drubbing. Only about five percent of the state's total vote is cast early.

What's more, while the GOP claims about 300,000 people voted early in 2008, that number is just 115,000 this year. So we're not even talking final absentee numbers.

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