One of the keys to Barack Obama’s victory in Ohio in 2008 was the early voting game. Ohio Democrats tapped into the enthusiasm advantage they had and got their voters to vote early in overwhelming numbers. On election day itself, John McCain actually won. But Obama had such a large lead with votes already banked, that he won Ohio and put the nail in McCain’s coffin.
We have analyzed some polls this year that used ridiculous samples with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by 8 points or more. For example, a recent NBC/WSJ/Marist poll used a Dem +10 sample, and the latest Ohio poll used a preposterous sample with 48% Democrats.
We have argued that these polls are not accurate because in 2008, which was the height of the blue Obama wave, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 8 points on election day. One of our trolls countered that since every single voter got an absentee ballot application in the mail this year, that Democrat turnout would further increase.
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.
As always, this election is going to come down to turnout. We got beat badly on the ground in 2008. As of a couple of weeks ago, our side had already surpassed the number of voter contacts made during all of the 2008 season. We are doing much better, but we could still use more help.
Get. In. Volved. If you do, we will propel Mitt Romney to a victory over Barack Obama in Ohio this year.