While it may only appeal to an election nerd like myself, I think one of the most fascinating developments taking place this election is the early voting numbers. There is an incredible divergence between who is winning the early vote nationally and who is winning it in the swing states.
According to both Gallup and Pew Research, Mitt Romney actually has a small advantage over President Obama among people who have already cast their votes nationally. Yet if you look at most of the top swing states, Obama has nearly a two to one advantage in the early vote.
|Early Voting||Barack Obama||Mitt Romney||Obama Lead|
At this point in 2008, probably because of the greater enthusiasm among Democrats, Obama actually lead nationally in the early vote 53 percent to 34 percent. This year though Romney leads in the national early vote by seven.
Presumably, if the Obama ground game was not operating in the swing states the early vote totals in them would mirror the national polling. In the places that the Obama campaign has been deployed it has managed to turn what should have been a small early vote advantage for Romney into a massive Obama lead. It seems that the campaign’s operation has successfully changed the voting habits of millions of Americans in the top swing states and assured a huge share of the vote Obama needs has been already cast.
As simply a display of logistics and organization this is a remarkable accomplishment. Normally, the impact of an actual campaign structure is marginal and hard to detect. Here, though, we can clearly see the radical difference made in the early vote in states where the Obama campaign is active compared to where it has not been.