As predicted here in the last column, the Democrats were going to show initial strength, perhaps surprising or even shocking strength, in vote by mail (VBM) in Florida and North Carolina. I cautioned everyone to prepare for this onslaught, because the Democrats are voting themselves out. They have cannibalized their election day voters, big time.
And the record is mixed so far.
In Florida, for example, just a week ago the Democrats were up 55% to 29% in VBM. Today? 49.4 to 29.9%. While the Republicans seem to only be creeping up, the Democrats are rapidly falling down. Their lead now, as in-person early voting is set to start on Monday, October 19, is 443,328. Their goal is 653,000. The Republicans have their own target: after in-person early voting, they think the Democrats must not lead by more than 359,000. The combined mail-in (VBM) vote and in-person early vote number for the Republicans is to be down by “only” 294,000. However, “Freeper” SpeedyinTexas thinks the Democrats may still hit their VBM target. I’m skeptical.
If the Democrats are “voting out,” and if (as seems the case) “souls to the polls” has been canceled, we should start seeing a much more rapid decrease in the Democrat margins as in-person early voting starts. However, so far, the Democrat returned ballots keep coming in, and at the current rate of 3% per day, would hit 85% by election eve (vs. 74%) in 2016.
One interesting tidbit from the “Joe is Done” site is that so far Democrats have the edge in “first-time voters”. In 2016 in North Carolina, 3% fewer blacks voted than in 2012. My sense was they liked Trump, but couldn’t take the full step across the aisle. I think this time that 3% or more will vote for Trump. But have they already?
Likewise, on the first day of Florida in-person early voting, the split was 49% Democrat and 26.6% Republican. This also needs to slow for Republicans to win on Election Day. Despite this, pollster Richard Baris told me he thinks Florida is out of play.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina—as tracked by “Freeper” byecomey, the Democrats are down 2,800 from their projections, while Republicans are down just 1,500 from their 2016 rates, for a net R gain of 1,300. Byecomey calls this a “massive one-day deviation and will likely keep dropping.
Currently on his “Joe is Done” blog, byecomey has the Democrats as underperforming by 247,352 from the projected rates they would need to have based on 2016 turnout; the Republicans slightly overperforming by 9,000, and independents outperforming by 78,000. That is a net D/R gain for Rs of 256,000 and should be good news for Donald Trump with independents, where he is leading.
As of today, in early voting, blacks are up to 31.7% in Georgia, where there is a black U.S. Senate candidate juicing turnout there. Even so, that has fallen from 34.4% from a week ago. As everywhere, the black turnout will be key. If not ahead of 2016 in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, Joe Biden has virtually no chance. But the senate race in Georgia will almost certainly improve black turnout there and in the presidential race make Georgia closer than it otherwise would be.
In Michigan, “Freeper” Ravi has noted that in 2016 22.8% of the ballots came from three counties where Hillary Clinton won with more than 60% of the vote (Wayne, Washtenaw, and Ingham) and that so far those three counties have requested 25.1% of the ballots. At even an 80% return rate, that would mean those three counties would fall short by about 2%—more than enough to keep the state in Trump’s column. Indeed, even if Democrats in these counties turned out at an unprecedented 90%, Biden would fall short by 1% of Hillary’s 2016 levels in Michigan.
This comes just as Trafalgar has Trump with a half-point lead in Michigan. One Fox News reporter just noted that the Biden campaign “does not believe the polls [having Biden way up] in Michigan.” And well they shouldn’t.
Our new @trafalgar_group #2020Election #BattlegroundState #MIpoll conducted Oct 11-14 still shows a thin Trump lead:
2.2% all others,
2.2% Und. See Report: https://t.co/dcPtMMUSpx pic.twitter.com/l1whvPtn1f
— Robert C. Cahaly (@RobertCahaly) October 16, 2020
So while the raw numbers are mixed, if I’m right (and I’ll be one of the few to always remind you, I can be wrong), the early Democrat vote advantage in Florida includes tens of thousands of black and Hispanic registered Democrats who are voting Trump; the North Carolina numbers show a serious projected Democrat shortfall there, and the Michigan early vote percentages in the blue counties are underperforming their 2016 levels.
And all of this without the Hunter Biden story permeating the news cycle . . . as it will.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: the American President, and founder of the history curriculum website, the Wild World of History, which has full U.S. and World History curricula for grades 9 through 12 that includes teacher’s guides, student workbooks, tests/answer keys, maps/images/graphs, and video lessons for all units (www.wildworldofhistory.com).