Americans are voting already in several states and the Democrats are counting on a big boost from absentee ballots which would give them a similar advantage they had in 2008’s contest.
But if the data from Ohio is any indication, such might not be the case this year:
Some early numbers are in on absentee ballot requests, so how is that working our for the Democrats so far? Not so good.
In 2008, total early votes cast in Ohio totaled 1,023,330. 34% of those were Democrats, 20% were Republicans, and the rest were independents or other parties. Democrats had a 14-point advantage.
So far this year, there have been 528,197 applications sent in for absentee ballots. The party breakdown at this point is 29% Democrats and 23% Repulicans. The difference is down to 6 points. For the Ohio Democratic Party who was counting on matching their early voting performance from 4 years ago, that’s very bad news.
Let’s look at the three largest counties.
In Cuyahoga, the dropoff isn’t so bad for them. Their 2008 advantage of 37 points is down to 30. But the news is really bad in Franklin County. Their 5-point advantage from 2008 has actually reversed. So far, Republicans ballot apps outnumber Dems by 5. And in Hamilton County, the Republican advantage of 7 points from 2008 has increased to 14 points.
The 2008 numbers also include in-person early voting, which has not yet begun yet for 2012. Will this trend continue as October rolls on? Only time will tell. But these initial numbers must be discouraging for Ohio Dems.
With Democratic registration down across the country, it is likely that President Obama will not receive the same kind of lift off to his campaign that early voting gave him in 2008.