First, the sent out/requested ballots: the trend for requested ballots continues to show registered Democratic strength when it comes to these traditional Republican-favored voting method.
Of the 18,186 ballots sent out so far, 41 percent are to registered Democratic voters, 35 percent to registered Republican voters, and 24 percent to registered unaffiliated voters. Women are 55 percent of the sent ballots, while white voters are 83 percent and black voters are 12 percent.
In comparing these sent ballots to 2010's mid-term election, there is an unique exception that has to be taken into account. According to legendary NC General Assembly guru Gerry Cohen, 2010 mail-in ballots were automatically sent to military and overseas voters who had voted in 2008. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a change in federal law that not longer required automatic mail-out of ballots to these folks. Thus, the 2010 numbers would be inflated compared to the 2014 numbers, unless you delineate the 'civilian' only numbers as a basis of comparison, which I do in the following graphic.
I also give the remainder of this week's comparable 2010 numbers (36-32 days out from the election) to give some idea of what was seen in 2010 for this coming week. As noted, registered Republicans have basically hit where they were this time in 2010 (88 votes ahead of 2010's date); but for Democrats, they are substantially ahead of where they were this time four years ago (2,759 votes), along with unaffiliated voters as well (1,448 votes ahead).
In terms of returned and accepted mail-in ballots (thus, actual votes), we won't know the vote totals so far, but we do know who sent them in:
Among the 3,146 ballots (17% of the requested ballots have been returned):
- 45 percent are from registered Democrats
- 35 percent are from registered Republicans
- 20 percent are from registered unaffiliated voters
- 53 percent from women
- 46 percent from men
- 81 percent from white voters
- 14 percent from black voters
- 5 percent from 'other' racial-category voters
In comparing the returned & accepted ballots from this year against the 2010 comparable numbers (again, based on the days out from Election Day):
All categories of registered voters are substantially ahead of their 2010 numbers, but again, it is the Democratic registered voters who are substantially ahead of their own 2010 numbers and ahead of Republican-registered voters, who were leading at this point in 2010.
It's been now a week now, and the trends continue in mail-in ballots that we have been seeing, which leads me to start to be more convinced that the Democratic ground-game has seen a substantial amount of energy and enthusiasm, whether done through operations like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's focus to organize on the ground or through the sheer enthusiasm by average Democratic voters.
As of this date, with five weeks to go to the big day, this trend is too noticeable not to be taken seriously by all campaigns.