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I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news:

I finally have the database ready through which we can determine how many likely, sporadic, unlikely, and new registrant voters Obama and Romney.

So tomorrow's update will DEFINITELY be packed full of data looking more deeply at who has voted - I already have the data, and it is just a matter of having the time to write it up.

But as a little preview, it looks like the vast majority of Obama's vote margin is coming where it matters - from people who are not "likely voters" who we know for the most part will vote no matter what. It is no secret that Obama needs to turn out "sporadic" and "unlikely" voters as well as new registrants in order to win, and it is pretty clear that he is doing a much better job of turning out these sorts of voters than is Romney.

They way I am defining these different categories of voters is as follows:

Likely Voter - Someone who voted in both the 2008 and 2010 General Elections.
Sporadic Voter - Someone who voted in either the 2008 or 2010 General Election, but not in both.
New Registrant - Someone who registered to vote after the 2010 General Election
Unlikely Voter - Someone who did not vote in either the 2008 or 2010 General Election, and who is not a New Registrant.

Moreover, we should ALSO be able to determine how many likely, sporadic, unlikely, and new registrant voters have not yet voted. A big question is whether or not Romney has a big pool of Republican Likely Voters who have not yet voted to draw on, who will vote on election day. Or alternatively, is Romney not going to have a large enough pool of Likely Voters to draw on on election day in order to overcome Obama's margin among the less-likely voters?

The bad news:

I only have time to throw updated charts up; otherwise today's update would have to wait until late tonight when nobody will be around to read it :).

Voting on Wednesday was again clearly lower than in 2008. The interesting thing about this, however, is that this is affecting both Obama and Romney. This makes me wonder whether some of the increased early voting we saw at the beginning of the early vote period may have been from people who voted early in 2008 in the last week shifting to vote early in the first week of early voting.

Click on the picture below for a full sized chart.

Early Vote Turnout Charts:







Previous NC Early Voting Diaries:

Day 1 & Methodology
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14

Originally posted to MattTX on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As a Tar Heel (13+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate the work you've done on early voting here.  Terrific job.

  •  This may have been answered before (4+ / 0-)

    But is there any special reason Obama's daily margins plunged in 2008 after day 17? It seems like voters of both parties essentially halted early voting by the end of day 17.

    Looking forward to the deeper data though. If most of the early GOP voters are just likely voters (i.e. shifting days to vote around) versus unlikely/sporadic/new, I've reason to be patiently optimistic.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:04:52 AM PDT

  •  great and comprehensive work! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattTX, MichaelNY

    seems to me though that Romney has a clear edge.. the area under the curve of the % daily Obama vote is much less.. if this continues, Romney takes NC...

    •  Not necessarily (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deerang, MichaelNY, live1

      First of all, no need to mentally do integrals -- you can just look at the chart above that one, "Obama % of Cumulative NC Early Vote (estimated)."

      Second of all, while Obama's estimated percentage of cumulative early votes in NC is smaller than it was in 2008, it is still above 50%. (It's estimated at 53.1%, according to the table at the top of the post.)

      The big question is what will happen on Election Day. How many more R voters will turn out that day than have already turned out in early voting? If the answer is "Not as many more as in 2008" then the Obama early-voting lead won't drop off nearly as much on Election Day 2012 as it did on Election Day 2008. In other words, the lead may be smaller, but we'll hold onto it.

      And MattTX has promised us the juicy numbers on who's already voted -- I can't wait! :)

  •  The only value of early voting (10+ / 0-)

    is to reduce lines on election day and to get unlikely voters to vote.  If Obama's early voters are unlikely and Romney's are likely voters, then Romney might have a tough time finding enough voters to catch Obama on election day.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:10:31 AM PDT

  •  Looks like a systemic 2% drop from 2008. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago DEM, MrSpock, MattTX, MichaelNY

    Making a case for an Obama win in 2012 with these number requires a new operating theory and some assumptions.

    e.g. Romney is "using up his care voters earlier because his GOTV is better than McCain's nonexistant one" is the most quoted one around here.

    It would be interesting if your numbers tomorrow provided some information on that question.  Otherwise, I think it's just wait and see.  This feels consistent with a 3-4% obama national win vs 7% last time.  That means he loses NC and FL (and IN), but wins everyone else - for a total of 303 EV's.  

    Kind of what Nate has too btw.

    I love the look in peoples eyes when they realize, for the first time, that they have power.

    by 4democracy on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:11:38 AM PDT

  •  thanks MattTX...I look forward to this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne, NCJan, MattTX, MichaelNY, live1

    everyday...
    It looks to me like Obama has already peeked and  Romney has begun the inevitable chipping away  (today and saturday -last day of EV would confirm)...but the question remains would he chip enough to erase a 138K lead?
    ...I think O would hold it by 5-10K votes...

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:15:48 AM PDT

  •  "Bill Clinton coming to Raleigh Saturday, (9+ / 0-)
    Michele Obama to Charlotte on Monday"
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    bepanda has details and links.

    Thanks for this great diary series.

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:18:36 AM PDT

  •  Verrrry cool, Matt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattTX

    Is this coming from the data that I pointed you to?  If so, I'll be very proud.  I'd love to be doing analysis on it myself, but I just don't have the time or computing infrastructure to make it happen so soon ... I'm very impressed that you've gotten to it so soon yourself!

    •  Primaries and Political Party (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MattTX

      BTW, are you taking my suggestion of using primary registrations to 'call out' voters who otherwise vote as 'unaffiliated'?  I know some people tend to vote in the other party's primary during years where their own party has an incumbent, but I have a feeling it would be a small effect ... and you could probably fix that problem by looking only at 2008 and the non-presidential election years.

      You may also want to do something with newly-registered voters aged 18-21, and use some generic statistics for their age group to get a sense of their impact on the election.

      With all the data you've got, you can really chip away at different sources of uncertainty and get a pretty close estimate of the quality of turnout on both sides.  I bet, with the data you already have, it's possible to make an estimate to within 0.5% of the final NC election result.

      •  I tried to do that (0+ / 0-)

        Using primary vote history to figure out which way "unaffiliated" voters lean was a very good idea. I tried to follow that up, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to say whether the "unaffiliated" voters voted in the Democratic or Republican primary. There is a "party" field in the vote history files, but it seems to refer to the party registration of the voter rather than to which primary they voted in.

        With regards to the unaffiliated and new registrant voters, I do think it is a good idea to look into how they break down by age. One other interesting thing that was available is place of birth - there really are a lot of people born in the Northeast who live in Wake County! If a lot of the newer "unaffiliated" voters are born in the northeast, that might signal that Obama could do better with "independent" voters than we might otherwise think.

        •  Party registration is the important thing (0+ / 0-)

          Like I said above, sometimes a Democratic voter may cross over and vote in the Republican primary, or vice-versa.  What we're interested in here is whether a person has in any way affirmatively aligned themselves with one party or another.

          That said, I suspect that in order to vote in an NC primary, you may need to register under the party for which you want to vote, which would mean the registration is the same as the primary election that you vote in.  If it isn't this way, it wouldn't make sense that people who normally want to identify as independent would change their affiliation just for a primary election.

    •  Another Tip (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MattTX

      If you can do it (and I'm pretty sure your database has all the info you'd need), you may also want to apply your model of likely voters on each side to ALL the 2008 voters (including Election Day voters), and see how close you are to the true final results.  It'll give us all a sense of how good your breakdown of the Unaffiliated voters is when we're looking at your bottom line %.

  •  WoW Are we really 150K+ votes behind Vs 2008? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattTX, MichaelNY

    Common you democrats in NC. We need you to turn out big in the remaining few days left in the voting.

    I based this on Obama cumulative early vote margin 2012 Vs 2008 chart.

    Please NC, step up and deliver Obama to White house.

    •  Not exactly (5+ / 0-)

      If I'm reading the chart right, Dems are 14,734 ahead of the 2008 voting pace. Republicans are 121,600 ahead of their 2008 pace. The margin is down, but the big question is, who is just transferring votes from Election Day to early Voting, and who is turning out sporadic voters.

      It sounds like Matt is tearing into the data to answer that for us tomorrow.

      NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

      by bear83 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:54:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sandy's Effect (0+ / 0-)

        We also shouldn't discount the fact that the parts of NC that were largely spared from any effects of Sandy are disproportionately Republican.  It's obvious the turnout has been relatively depressed the past few days, and from the 2008 map, it's more likely that a Democratic voter has been affected by the storm than a Republican one.

        We can hope that the Democratic voters that have been delayed in voting by the hurricane or its aftereffects will come back to vote by Tuesday.

        To me, it looks like we've lost ground compared to 2008, but not much.  Something along the lines of a 20k-50k vote loss looks likely.  And that would be a GOOD sign for Obama's campaign as a whole.  We'll probably know more tomorrow when Matt gives us his next update.

  •  NC Registration Changes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, MattTX

    during Early Voting (may include some forms counties were late processing)

    D 28,587   52%
    R 13,085   24%
    L      824     1%
    U 12,816   23%
    Tot  55,312

    Net change during 2012
    D 134,490  32%
    R   95,301  23%
    L     6,457  1%
    U 183,922  44%
    Tot  420,170

    Net change since Election day, 2008
    D    -7,594
    R    43,808
    L    15,335
    U 309,723
    Tot 361,272

    NC Registration by race
    11/04/08: 74.5 W - 22.0 B - 3.5 O
    11/27/12: 71.3 W - 22.4 B - 6.3 O

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 11:42:39 AM PDT

  •  How to reconcile NC Gov & NC Presidential polls? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoIn

    Every reputable poll of the governor's race in N.C. has unfortunately shown Republican nominee Pat McCrory with a comfortable lead of at least high single digits over Democratic nominee Walter Dalton, including PPP.  And yet, presidential polls have shown a very tight race in N.C. between Obama and Romney, between even or a point or two Romney advantage.

    I'm having a hard time envisioning ticket-splitters who are voting for both Obama and McCrory.  But for Obama to take N.C. there's going to have to be at least five to eight percent of the electorate who turns out who either do exactly that, or else who cast an under-vote in the governor's race.

    •  McCrory was a very popular Charlotte mayor (0+ / 0-)

      who was actually pretty effective and moderate. I am afraid that is not how he will be as a governor. Also, Walter Dalton has pretty low name recognition, an unpopular Dem governor who has had some ethics concerns and state party in disarray.

      •  I began doubting Perdue election night 2008 when.. (0+ / 0-)

        I was at the democratic party election night 2008 gathering in some downtown Raleigh hotel, to be with like-minded celebrants when anticipated news of Obama's victory was announced, and I still remember Perdue's tin-eared timing in seizing the podium less than five minutes after west coast polls closed and the networks announced Obama's victory, and her giving a long-winded speech celebrating her own victory in the Governor's race.  I still remember how much of a buzz-kill that was to most folks in the room, filled with the otherwise most sympathetically supportive people in the state for the election of N.C.'s first female governor.  Unfortunately, that incident was a portent of her overall political ineptness as governor over the past four years, despite some positive accomplishments.  True, she had the handicap of the lingering stench of former Governor Mike Easley hanging over the dems, but what that meant was that the times required someone with truly adroit political skills like ex-governor Jim Hunt, and not someone who proved to be a mediocre sometimes bumbler.

    •  Not Sure (0+ / 0-)

      But I do recall a PPP poll not too terribly long ago that showed that while McCroy was well ahead of Dalton that the undecideds were very heavily Obama voters suggesting that Dalton was suffering from poor name recognition.  If those voters end up voting for Dalton it would likely make the results a lot closer than they look now, but it will still unlikely be enough.

      Part of Dalton's problem -- in addition to lack of funds -- is that Democrats have held the NC governorship for 20 consecutive years and a lot of people are just ready for something different and, despite his kissing up to the reactionary Republicans in the legislature at lot of people seem to think that McCroy would govern NC the way he governed Charlotte.  

      Also, I seem to recall from the PPP poll that Obama and Mittens were running abut even among independents in NC while McCroy was running away with them so there's your Obama/McCroy voters.

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:11:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we flipped the legislature (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, ncps

        I would not worry about McCrory as Gov.  The problem will be if the legislature remains in GOP hands.  Those crazy mofos will legislate any bad idea they can get their hands on (no nonlinear models of sea level rise allowed) and McCrory will have no reason not to sign that shit.

        I hold out a shred of hope based on a couple things.  1.  NC's minority voters may be sensitized to the fact that our fabulous one-stop early voting would be destroyed under a GOP Gov/lege combination, and 2.  the GOTV operation has been on this, encouraging party line Dem voting.  And those lege races always get fewer votes than the top races.

        Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

        by kismet on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 01:33:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You deserve a big thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattTX

    and since the next 5 days look crazy, I'll extend it now.

  •  McCrory and Legislature (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, MattTX

    PPP had a poll recently that showed 24% of Democrats in North Carolina plan on voting for McCrory for Governor. I think this is for two reasons. One, the left over effects of Purdue's unpopularity and two, the fact that Dalton has almost no name recognition, even though he is our current Lt. Governor. McCrory has been running ads for months and just recently have we seen Dalton's ads showing up on TV.
    Interestingly the poll between the Lt Governor candidates is within the margin of error.  
      The same poll shows the vote for Legislator tied 45 to 45 between  Democrats and Republicans. The upside for Democrats may be the vote for president, if we are banking votes, will have "coattails" that carry the legislator. The bad news is the Republicans redrew the districts for the State house and Senate last year to their advantage.
     

  •  Thank you Matt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattTX

    You have done a wonderful job with your analysis.
     Living in Wilmington, NC on the coast, and being raised near Boone, NC in the mountains, I am fascinated with the politics of North Carolina.

    I do have a question for you or anyone else who may have opinion on the matter. What effect do you think Gary Johnson may have on the race? Is their a way to calculate this? He is on the ballot in NC and I do remember a poll about a month ago, by whom I can't remember, but a comparison was done where they asked  about the Presidential Race with and without Gary Johnson's name included. When you included his name he took 2% points from Romney, Obama's numbers stayed the same in both polls. When the race is this tight, 2% points could make a big difference.  

    •  Gary Johnson (0+ / 0-)

      Well, I doubt that he will get 2% of the vote. 3rd Party candidates usually do better in polls than they do in actual votes. In 2008, there were just under 40,000 votes cast for 3rd party candidates or Write-Ins, so I would guess that the number will be similar this year.

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