Obama seems to have early vote lead in key states

President Barack Obama heads toward Election Day with an apparent lead over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters in key states that could decide the election.
Associated Press
Nov 4, 2012

Obama's advantage, however, isn't as big as the one he had over John McCain four years ago, giving Romney's campaign hope that the former Massachusetts governor can erase the gap when people vote on Tuesday.

More than 27 million people already have voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia. No votes will be counted until Election Day but several battleground states are releasing the party affiliation of people who have voted early.

So far, Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio — five states that could decide the election, if they voted the same way. Republicans have the edge in Colorado, which Obama won in 2008.

Obama dominated early voting in 2008, building up such big leads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina that he won each state despite losing the Election Day vote, according to voting data compiled by The Associated Press.

"In 2008, the McCain campaign didn't have any mobilization in place to really do early voting," said Michael McDonald, an early voting expert at George Mason University who tallies voting statistics for the United States Elections Project. "This time around the Romney campaign is not making the same mistake as the McCain campaign did."

McDonald said he sees a shift toward Republicans among early voters, which could make a difference in North Carolina, which Obama won by the slimmest of margins in 2008, only 14,000 votes. The Republican shift, however, might not be enough to wipe out Obama's advantage in Iowa and Nevada, which Obama won more comfortably in 2008.

In Colorado, Florida and Ohio, get ready for a long night of vote counting on Tuesday.

Romney's campaign aides say they are doing so much better than McCain did four years ago that Romney is in great shape to overtake Obama in many of the most competitive states.

"They are underperforming what their 2008 numbers were and we are overperforming where we were in 2008," said Rich Beeson, Romney's political director. "We feel very good heading into the Tuesday election."

Obama's campaign counters that Romney can't win the presidency simply by doing better than McCain.

"It's not about whether or not they're doing better than John McCain did," said Jeremy Bird, Obama's national field director. "It's about whether or not they're doing better than us."

About 35 percent of voters are expected to cast ballots before Tuesday, either by mail or in person.

Voters always can cross party lines when they vote for any office, and there are enough independent voters in many states to swing the election, if enough of them vote the same way. Still, both campaigns are following the early voting numbers closely, using them to gauge their progress and plan their Election Day strategies.

A look at early voting in the tightest states:



About 1.6 million people have voted, and Republicans outnumber Democrats 37 percent to 35 percent. Those numbers are a reversal from four years ago at this time. Inevitably, Obama won the early vote by 9 percentage points in 2008, giving him a big enough cushion to win the state, despite narrowly losing the Election Day vote.

Early voting in Colorado is expected to account for about 80 percent of all votes cast, giving it more weight than in other states.



About 3.9 million people have voted, and 43 percent were Democrats and 40 percent were Republicans. For years ago at this time, Democratic early voters had a 9 percentage point lead over Republicans.

Obama won Florida's early vote by 10 percentage points in 2008, getting 400,000 more early votes than McCain, enough to offset McCain's advantage on Election Day.

In Florida, Republicans have historically done better among people who vote by mail, while Democrats have done better among people who vote early in person. For 2012, Florida's Republican-led Legislature reduced the number of in-person early voting days from 14 to eight.

The Obama campaign responded by encouraging more supporters to vote by mail, and Democrats were able to narrow the gap among mail ballots. Democrats quickly took the lead among all early voters, once in-person early voting started. But the margins are slim.

The Obama campaign acknowledges it must do better among Florida's Election Day voters than Obama did on 2008, when McCain won the Election Day vote by 5 percentage points.



About 614,000 people have voted, already exceeding Iowa's total number of early votes in 2008. So far this year, 43 percent of early voters were Democrats and 32 percent were Republicans.

Four years ago, Obama won the early vote in Iowa by a whopping 27 percentage points, 63 percent to 36 percent. McCain, meanwhile, won the Election Day vote by about 1,800 votes — less than a percentage point. Together, they added up to a 10-point victory for Obama.

Romney's campaign argues that Democrats always do better among early voters in Iowa while Republicans do better among Election Day voters, even when President George W. Bush narrowly carried the state in 2004.

Obama's campaign counters that with early voting on the rise, Romney will be left with fewer Election Day voters to make up the difference.



About 628,000 people have voted, and 44 percent were Democrats and 37 percent were Republicans. Four years ago, Obama won Nevada's early vote big, 59 percent to 39 percent. Obama also won Nevada's Election Day vote on his way to a comfortable 13-point win over McCain.

The Romney campaign argues that Obama isn't doing nearly as well among early voters in Nevada as he did in 2008. The Obama campaign argues that it doesn't have to.


North Carolina

About 2.5 million people have voted, and 48 percent of them were Democrats and 32 percent of them were Republicans. Four years ago at this time, Democrats had a slightly larger lead over Republicans, and Obama won the early vote by 11 percentage points.

Obama lost the Election Day Vote by 17 percentage points in 2008. But the early vote was much bigger than the Election Day vote, resulting in Obama's narrow win.

Obama's campaign cites the big lead for Democrats among early voters, while Romney's campaign argues that even a small shift toward the Republicans could flip the state to Romney.



More than 1.6 million people have voted, and 29 percent were Democrats and 23 percent were Republicans. Forty-seven percent were unaffiliated, more than enough voters to swing the state to either candidate.

Ohio may once again be pivotal in the race for the presidency. Unfortunately, Ohio's early voting data is limited. Party affiliation in Ohio is based on the last primary in which a voter participated, so new voters and those who don't vote in primaries are listed as unaffiliated.

In 2008, Obama won Ohio by 5 percentage points.




None of the candidates for the last 16 years have represented the nation as it is today. I have asked "TRUE" Republicans under the age of 45 if they are pro choice and pro same sex marriage...overwhelming majority say yes. Conversely, I have asked "TRUE" Democrats under 45 if they are for the current welfare system and anti second amendment...most answer no. Four of the most divisive party platform issues are so blurred by today's majority that only one thing must be fact...our populist ideals have moved so closely to the middle of the political spectrum that no true hard line candidate represents the majority. I'd wager only a centrist truly represents the populace.

Problem: political capital is not only controlled by the few, it is also controlled by our elder statesmen. When the few have more to spend than the majority in a political system run by cash, an electoral college and ignoring the majority...the majority is not represented. And for all the young insanely wealthy individuals that would argue the point...I say the same...you do not represent the majority. Money does not make you right....it just makes you louder.

Solution...a candidate that actually represents what the majority of the country believes: pro-choice; pro-self defense (at home and abroad); work for a living unless you cannot (and I mean cannot...injured, elderly), there will be help; spend money inside the borders and not for special interests (pay teachers not companies paving over good streets); if money need be spent overseas, get something for the investment (international capitalistic spending); and, finally yes, a candidate that is both pro-choice and pro-second amendment (gun).

In other words: the majority must reach into its smaller pockets and some how come up with 2 billion dollars to hope and get a presidential candidate elected to office that truly represents us...the majority.

By the way...the average party donor this year earned a heck of a lot more than you and I combined.

Third party, anyone?


Just because it's legal doesn't make it right... "Romney avoids taxes via loophole"


The problem is that nearly every Dem in Congress also uses these loopholes yet are very outspoken against them. Hypocrites anyone?



Members of both parties use tax loopholes. The problem with Romney is his dishonesty in not releasing his tax returns because he knew it would show how shallow his words are.


@ OSUBuckeye59

I appreciate your rational observations, they are very refreshing.



I am humbled by your kind words.

As an ex native of Sandusky, where I was born and raised, I still have siblings in the area, and still care greatly about Ohio in general even though I've been living and working in Oregon since '89.

I'm not a registered member of either major political party. I vote for who I believe is the best candidate. I voted for Reagan. I voted for Clinton. In fact, I've voted for the Democratic nominee ever since Clinton. And this year I was really hoping for a real Leader to be selected by the GOP. But when I voted almost 2 weeks ago (Oregon is 100% vote-by-mail), for me it came down to the best of the worst two candidates from each major political party: re-elect an incumbent who over-committed on "change" and then very much under-delivered to those change promises (including promising to lower the deficit by 50%); or elect a wealthy, business-savvy former governor of Massachusetts with lots of promises yet no details on how he plans to deliver on those promises.

As I wrote, Obama pledged to lower the deficit by 50%. Yeah...right. On the flip side, Romney's already aiming for a 2-term presidency by saying he'll eliminate the deficit in less than 8 years, yet has given zero details on how he'll do it. And no matter who "wins" the Presidency, it's almost assured the GOP will maintain control of the House and the Democratic Party will maintain control of the Senate, meaning we're almost guaranteed more "Rule by Constipation".

When Romney left office in Massachusetts, his approval rating was 34%. In 2006, his last year in office, all of his 250 vetoes were overturned. In total, Romney issues 800 vetoes, of which 707 were overturned. That's 88% of his vetoes were overturned. And he's going to get bipartisan support how, exactly?

As for Obama, he had difficulties with his OWN party right after gaining office. And of course the GOP-controlled house has made it "Rule by constipation", making their #1 goal to block Obama at every step and turn, no matter what the blockage would do to the American people. If Obama gets re-elected, he's going to do what differently to bust through the blockage?

Perhaps the one potential ray of sunshine would be that Obama gets re-elected and thinks, "OK...I'm a lame-duck President. I've learned a LOT in my first four years and I'm going to make a positive difference this time around." Perhaps he'd actually do the right thing and remind both the House and Senate who they represent: the people.

Neither candidate really stands out as the Leader our Great Nation really needs right now.


romney has COMPLIED with the law that states he must release 2 most recent years of tax returns. where is the dishonesty?



You are correct in that Romney complied with the law. I still contend he was being dishonest in that he hid the fact he paid zero federal taxes for 15 years prior to 2010. Why not show Leadership by releasing tax return records like his father, and tell the American people something like, "I took full & legal advantage of our U.S. tax codes."

the office cat

Mikel... We all look for deductions. But I don't know anyone in a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances - personal and professional - of either party who EVER 'borrowed' their church's non-profit status to avoid paying taxes - noting here that the 'borrowing' loophole was closed. The law isn't always 'legal' - slavery, interracial marriage, denying women the vote - as a few examples.


I do not know if anyone has posted this prior as I do work and cannot keep up with all the posts.
However it does seem that a winner has been picked as the Redskins lost at home yerterday. In the 18 presidential elections since 1937 17 have been predicted by the Redskins performance prior to the election. If the Redskins lose the challenger usually prevails. Sorry Obama

Darwin's choice

As good a guess as all the rest!! Bye Bye Barry!


Just think no mattter who wins , in two months we will all be B' ching and complaining about the high dollar inauguration 2013 parties and balls etc.


you are right about that! i don't have an exact figure but am guessing that all totalled from all campaigns the dollar amount spent is probably over a $billion$. crazy!!!



Your estimate is shockingly close: as of 2 weeks ago, combined spending by both major presidential candidates was ~$915 million. I have no doubt they will indeed exceed $1 billion by tomorrow evening.

the office cat

Mikel... pay tenshun. He said the cost of the INAUGURATION PARTIES etc.
Actually, across America, in all elections, politicians and 'peoplecorps' have spent in excess of $6 billion


The office cat... That would be SHE - Thank you :)

I heard the figure of $ 6 Billion , too, Holy Shiiete!!!!


I hope if Obama wins he has a better plan for the next four years then that crap plan he had the last four. He said he would have it cleaned up in 4 years now he's saying no one could do it in 4 years. I just dont trust anything about this man, he is in over his head. GO MITT

The Big Dog's back

Get the obstructionist Repubs out of the way and things will happen faster.


Big Dock,

The GOP House has indeed been practicing "Rule by Constipation" for the past 2 years. And what makes you think they would change should Obama get re-elected? Or if the Democratic Party maintains control of the Senate and Romney gets elected that they won't adopt "Rule by Constipation".


Obama said he'd reduce the deficit by 50%. So much for that promise. I'd rather have a politician under-commit and then over-deliver. Like that'll ever happen. And to be fair, Romney's already lobbying for a second term by saying he'll eliminate the deficit in less than 8 years.

How does the joke go...How can you tell when a politician's lying? They open their mouth. :-)

the office cat

If you take out the unfunded China debt to prosecute two wars AND pay for unfunded Medicare Part D - he'd be close to reducing the 'debt' Bush left behind. This president wanted the American people to know exactly what we were paying.


Office cat,

To be fair, and I'm not a member of the GOP party, but again, to be fair, it's hard to postulate if Obama would've been able to reduce the debt as you've indicated. The TARP funds added to the deficit, and given the continued recession, it's quite possible the Fed would've injected more stimulus $$ into the economy potentially via infrastructure projects, as an example, in an attempt to get the economy rolling.

Regardless, we need our next President, be it Obama or Romney, to be a Leader. And we need both the House and Senate to put our Country first and Party second.


Wonder who voted for the war? http://peaceispatriotic.org/bill... Oh thats right THEY ALL DID. Get a clue.


They voted for the war because they were lied to. And the war was still unfunded and not included in the budget (meaning not included in Bush's deficit OR debt). Stop with the THEY VOTED FOR IT crap - if they had not been lied to, it's quite possible that even the GOP would not have voted for the war.

the office cat

In his next term, the Republicans will not be able to use the excuse they want to keep him from getting a 'second term'. So, what will they use? When he started in 2009, he was given the figures on the 'hidden' China debt that accrued because it was unfunded.


office cat,

Should Obama get re-elected, I fear the "Rule by Constipation" by the GOP-controlled House will only continue. And the GOP will then target mid-term elections to gain control of both the House and Senate, should the Democrats retain control of the Senate after today.


Tomorrow is your chance, American voters. It's time to remember just how horrible things were in 2008, at the depths of the recession. It's time to remember that the same party that caused the recession is now pushing a new candidate with the same old ideas, and the exact same economic plan that caused the recession. The same plan that resulted in a loss of 500,000 jobs per month by the end of 2008. They want you to forget just how BAD things were on their watch, but you do remember, don't you?

If you want to continue the steady recovery, join me in voting for Obama and the middle class. If you want a return to the recession, in which the rich prospered and the rest of us struggled, vote for Plutocrat Romney. It's really that simple...


Spam. Its to be expected from a obama follower though.

Darwin's choice

Bye Bye Barry......

the office cat

FOUR MORE YEARS... even after Jon Husted becomes a pariah in his own party for delaying the final results by at least 10 days. The provisional ballots cannot even be looked at until November 17. If the margin in Ohio is less than the number of provisional ballots, and if that margin impacts the final count and final decision... but , not to worry, cuz the President is continuing.