Friday, September 30, 2016

Nearing the End of Week 3 in NC Absentee Mail-in Ballots

As we near the end of the third full week of North Carolina's absentee by mail ballots, the numbers are still running well ahead of where the state was on the same day in 2012's general election.

As of 9-30-16, over 84,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots, with 38 percent coming from registered Republicans, 33 percent from registered Democrats, 28 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than one percent from registered Libertarians.


And while registered Republicans have taken the lead in the total ballots requested, registered Democrats are 40 percent of the returned and accepted ballots so far, with registered Republicans at 35 percent and registered unaffiliated voters at 25 percent.


The return rate of the various party registrations are: Democrats at 17 percent, Libertarians at 14 percent, and Republicans and unaffiliated voters both at 13 percent.

In comparing this year's performance so far to four years ago on the same day, the total numbers this year stand at 108 percent of where mail-in accepted ballots were in 2012. Among registered unaffiliated voters, they are 141 percent of where they were four years ago in cumulative numbers, registered Democrats at 140 percent, and registered Republicans at 76 percent of where they were on the same day in 2012.


Finally, the outstanding ballots that have not been returned are, broken down by party registration:


Further analysis will be done over the weekend to look more deeply into the full week's numbers, especially based on how voters who have mail-in ballots this year and how they voted (if they did) in 2012's general election.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Analysis of 9-29-16 NC Absentee Mail-In Ballots

With today's (9-29-16) report from the NC State Board of Elections, over 78,500 North Carolinians have requested absentee mail-in ballots, with over 10,000 of them returning their ballots and being accepted as votes for November's election.


Of the total requested ballots so far, 38 percent are from registered Republican voters, 34 percent from registered Democrats, 28 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than one percent from registered Libertarians. While Republicans are leading among the requested ballots, Democrats continue to lead in returning and having their ballots accepted for November:


Among returned and accepted mail-in ballots, 40 percent are from registered Democrats, 35 percent from registered Republicans, and 25 percent from registered unaffiliated voters. In comparing these numbers to the same-day before the 2012 election day, the total returned accepted ballots are 108 percent of where ballots were the same day four years ago. 


Registered unaffiliated voters are the strongest 'over-performers', with their numbers at 141 percent of their same day totals; registered Democrats are 138 percent of where they were in 2012, and registered Republicans are 77 percent of their 2012 numbers on the same day. The accepted rate (the number of accepted ballots to the requested ballots) is 16 percent for registered Democrats, 14 percent for both the total numbers and registered Libertarians, 13 percent for registered Republicans, and 12 percent for registered unaffiliated voters.

Among those ballots still outstanding and not returned:


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Post-Presidential Debate Analysis

Was interviewed by WUNC's "The State of Things" on the first presidential debate and on the US Senate race between Richard Burr and Deborah Ross.

NC's Absentee Mail-In Ballots as of 9-28-16

North Carolina's absentee mail-in ballots continue to run ahead of where mail-in ballots stood four years ago.

A total of nearly 74,000 ballots have been requested, with registered Republican voters taking the lead in the total number of requested ballots, at 37 percent. Registered Democrats are at 35 percent of the total pool, and registered unaffiliated voters are 28 percent; registered Libertarians are less than one percent.


Among returned and accepted ballots, registered Democrats are 40 percent of those ballots, registered Republicans are 35 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters are 25 percent.


The return rate (accepted ballots by total ballots requested) show a registered Democratic voter rate of 15 percent so far, registered unaffiliated voter rate of 11 percent, registered Republican voter rate of 12 percent, and a total return rate of 13 percent.

A note: the following graph has been updated and corrected to incorporate 2012 absentee mail-in ballots that were requested not just by mail, but by fax and e-mail requests (many thanks to Dr. Michael McDonald at the US Elections Project for the review and working the numbers together). With those new comparison numbers, total accepted ballots are 113 percent of where the total number stood four years ago, with registered Democrats at 140 percent, registered unaffiliated voters at 148 percent, and registered Republicans at 81 percent.


Among those ballots requested and still not returned, the party registration breakdown is:


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Start of Week 3 of NC Absentee Mail-In Ballots

As of September 27, North Carolina absentee mail-in ballots have now reached 69,193~ requests, continuing to outpace the same-day from election day numbers from 2012.



Of the nearly 70,000 requested mail-in ballots, 36 percent are from registered Republicans, 35 percent are from registered Democrats, 28 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than 1 percent are from registered Libertarians. It is interesting that this is the first day in the mail-in period that registered Republicans have taken the lead in terms of requested ballots. You can see the 2012 performance of both absentee mail-in and in-person ballots cast at this post.

However, among returned and accepted ballots, registered Democrats still hold their lead, which is starkly different than four years ago. Among returned and accepted mail-in ballots, 40 percent are from registered Democrats, 35 percent from registered Republicans, and 24 percent from registered unaffiliated voters.


In comparing this year's mail-in accepted ballots to where things stood four years ago (same-day comparison to Election Day in both years), registered Democrats are still over-performing compared to 2012: they are 155 percent of the same day cumulative number from 2012. More interesting, registered unaffiliated voters are at 166 percent of their same-day cumulative numbers from four years ago. Registered Republicans are slightly under-performing their current numbers compared to four years ago, at 97 percent. Total absentee mail-in accepted ballots are 130 percent of where the numbers were in 2012.*



Finally, the outstanding mail-in ballots (that have not been returned) have gone to a slight Republican advantage.


If one were to measure the 'return rate' of requested mail-in ballots to those returned and accepted, registered Democrats are at 14 percent, registered Libertarians at 13 percent, registered Republicans at 12 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters are at 10 percent. 

As a final observation, interest seems strong now that we are going into the third full week of mail-in voting in North Carolina. We can't read into vote choices by these, but it is obvious that North Carolina voters are interested in this year's election (from analysis done over the weekend, 30 percent of voters who have cast mail-in ballots did not participate in 2012 or were not registered in 2012).

~ corrected due to duplicate records.
*corrected percentages now include both faxed and e-mailed requests for mail-in ballots from 2012. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Analysis of Two Full Weeks of NC's Mail-In Ballots

With two full weeks now completed in North Carolina's absentee by mail voting, over 64,500 voters have requested ballots to cast in this year's general election, with 10 percent of ballots (6,534) being returned and accepted for counting come November 8.

Here are the latest figures from Saturday's report (9-24-16) of mail-in absentee ballots requested and returned by party registration, with the various review of them (the most important line is the "ACCEPTED" line) at this point.


So far, requested ballots are 36 percent from registered Democratic voters, 36 percent from registered Republicans, 28 percent from registered unaffiliated voters, and less than 1 percent from registered Libertarians.

Of the returned and accepted ballots, registered Democrats are at an "accepted return rate" of their total ballots of 12 percent, registered Republicans at 10 percent, registered unaffiliated voters at 9 percent, and registered Libertarians at 12 percent.

In looking at the trend lines by party registration of accepted mail-in ballots so far:


As of 9-24-16, registered Democrats are 41 percent of the returned accepted mail-in ballots, registered Republicans are 35 percent, and registered unaffiliated are 24 percent. 

In comparing the same day in 2012 to 2016, the continuation of returned and accepted mail-in ballots from registered Democrats are still bucking the trend from four years ago:


In comparison to the same day four years ago*, the total number of returned accepted ballots is at 153 percent, with registered Democrats at 184 percent, registered unaffiliated at 202 percent, and registered Republicans at 111 percent of where they were the same day in 2012.

Of the outstanding ballots, the party registration is:


I decided to run analysis on three other areas of interest of mine: by generations, by region (meaning, urban vs. suburban vs. rural counties), and native North Carolinians versus those voters born out of state.

In terms of generational cohorts, we would expect older voters (those who are Baby Boomers (born between 1945-64) and those of the Silent & Greatest generations (those born before 1945)) to be the largest users of mail-in absentee balloting, as opposed to Generation Xers (those born between 1965-1980) and Millennials (those born after 1981). And indeed, we see this expectation play out in NC's mail-in absentee ballots, with two-thirds from voters who are either Baby Boomer or those of the Silent/Greatest generations.


To put this into some context, Silent/Greatest generation voters are 12 percent of the overall registration pool, Baby Boomers are 32 percent, Gen Xers are 27 percent, and Millennials are 29 percent (as of 9-24-16).

Regionally, North Carolina is transitioning into a heavy urban state, with 54 percent of registered voters in urban counties, while 20 percent of registered voters are in suburban counties and 26 percent in rural counties (as of 9-24-16). So far, the mail in absentee ballots divided into these county regions are:


Finally, the differences between native NC's and those born outside of NC is pretty striking:


Among all registered voters, native North Carolinians make up 43 percent of the voter pool, but among all requested mail-in ballots so far, non-native voters are two-thirds of the ballots.

*due to 2012's general election being two days ahead of where 2016's general election falls, I made a slight recalculation to account for this discrepancy in this comparison from previous analysis. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

NC Requested Mail-In Ballots by Region, Nativism, Generation, and Party Registration

I decided to run some final analyses on today's (9-23-16) NC absentee mail-in ballots that have been requested, most notably by the region of the state (urban county, suburban county, rural county) and party registration.

What struck me was the dominance, this early, by urban county voters using mail-in balloting.


Of the nearly 61,000 requested ballots so far, urban county voters make up 63 percent of the requested ballots, with suburban county voters 17 percent and rural county voters 20 percent.

Here are the party registration percentages for each region:


If one was to make an 'educated guess' about these trends, urban Democrats are most likely pure-party loyalists, meaning that they will likely vote for their party's nominee. Conversely, the legacy of native, rural, conservative Southern Democrats who may be registered Democratic are more likely to be Republican voters. However, the impact of non-native North Carolinians could give more of a sense of 'party-loyalty' based on voter registration (a big if, mind you).

One more set of analysis was the number of native North Carolinians compared against non-native born voters, split by region:


Non-native North Carolinians are two-thirds of the requested 61,000 mail-in ballots so far, and are nearly 70 percent of the urban county voters requesting ballots. Not surprising is that the closest 'region' based on native vs. non-native are rural counties.

Two more: here is the breakdown by generations and regions:
And then by party registrations and regions for native vs. non-native NC voters who have requested mail-in ballots:

It will be interesting to see if this trend of non-native North Carolinians continues at such a high percentage over the next few weeks. 

I'll post something tomorrow morning before taking the weekend off and be back on Tuesday with Monday's requests and processing.