Saturday, October 27, 2018

Halfway Through NC's Early Voting Period And We're Ready to Surpass 2014's Numbers

With more than 9 days in the books for North Carolina's in-person absentee onestop voting, we're halfway through the early voting period and the state is ready to surpass the 2014 total absentee ballots cast.

Through Friday, October 26, North Carolina voters have requested over 1.1 million absentee ballots, for both mail-in and onestop/in-person, and returned and accepted over 1 million of them.  The daily numbers and the cumulative totals for both types of absentee ballots are below, first by requested ballots:

And then by returned and accepted ballots:
In comparing to the past two mid-terms and the 2016 presidential election, while the total numbers of accepted absentee one-stop (in-person) have slipped below 2016's trend line, it is still on track to surpass 2014's numbers, which saw 10 days of early voting, and 2010's numbers, which saw 17 days of early voting:

By comparison to 2016's party registration numbers, all three of the major party registrations have fallen behind 2016's same day totals (which saw 17 days of early voting):

Registered Democrats are down 29 percent, registered Republicans are down 23 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters are down 19 percent, compared to same day numbers in 2016. However, in comparing to the last mid-term election in 2014, registered Democrats are at 82 percent of their final 2014 numbers, registered Republicans are at 92 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters have surpassed their 2014 numbers, and are at 122 percent of 2014's final tally for unaffiliated voters.

In comparison to 2016's final tallies, registered Democrats and registered unaffiliated voters are 35 percent of their final 2016 numbers, while registered Republicans are at 34 percent.

In looking at 2014's final numbers, 2018 has already exceeded requested mail ballots, and will likely exceed in-person ballots with today's numbers for both requested and accepted. 

Since absentee one-stop/in-person ballots will be the significant bulk of NC's absentee numbers, the following analyses will be on accepted absentee one-stop/in-person ballots. 

The total of 2018's absentee accepted in-person ballots by party registration so far:

The average age of NC in-person absentee voters is currently 59 years old. In comparing these ballots within generation cohorts (as defined by the Pew Research Center) and each cohort's voter party registration:

The bulk of NC early votes (in-person absentee voters) are Baby Boomer and older, in comparison to their voter registration pool percentages as of October 27, 2018:

By congressional districts and voter party registration:

In looking at 2018's NC early voters participated in 2014's mid-term election, or didn't (whether by not voting or not having been registered in 2014), a decreasing majority (over the past few days) voted the same method four years ago:

Currently, 45 percent of the early in-person ballots have come from voters who cast in-person early ballots in 2014. Nearly a quarter of this year's early voters cast ballots on Election Day in 2014, while 16 percent of early voters so far were registered after 2014. Those who were registered in 2014 but didn't cast a ballot that year make up13 percent of 2018's early voters. 

In looking at the voter party registration numbers and percentages within these top five groups of 2018 early voters so far:

And then looking within the voter party registration groups of 2018's early voters:

Over a quarter of 2018's Republican early voters cast their ballots on Election Day in 2014, with 22 percent of Democratic early voters having done the same in 2014. 

In looking by gender and voter party registration of early voters so far in the Old North State:

Early voting women are equal to their voter registration pool percentage (53 percent), but registered Democrats among these women are far outpacing their voter registration percentage. 

Next, in looking at regions (defined as: central city urban voters in urban counties; suburban voters living in an urban county but outside the central city; surrounding suburban county voters to the urban county; and rural counties) and by voter party registration of these early voters:

The voter party registration for suburban voters inside an urban county versus those in surrounding suburban counties is a mirror image. 

Next, taking gender and region, here are the voter party registrations for both female and male NC early voters:

More women are from urban areas, but more men are from suburban areas.

Next, in looking at voter race and party registration: 

White absentee in-person early voters are overperforming their voter registration percentage (of 68 percent), while black/African-Americans are two points below their voter registration percentage (of 22 percent). 

Here are the daily totals of accepted absentee in-person ballots by voter party registration:

And by percentage of party registration:

Interesting that registered Democrats dropped on Friday and registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters picked up their percentages. 

In looking at the turnout rates by voter registered party so far, 16 percent of North Carolina's 7 million plus registered voters have requested an absentee ballot (either mail or in-person):

In looking at turnout by party, registered Democrats are above the state-wide turnout rate at 18 percent, while registered Republicans are slightly above 16 percent, and registered unaffiliated voters are below, at 13.5 percent.

Next, in looking at the daily totals and percentages of accepted absentee in-person ballots by voter race:

Finally, in looking at the voters who have a 'high propensity' to show up to vote (meaning, they have voted in all general elections from 2008 to 2016) and those 'presidential voters' (meaning, these voters have voted in only in presidential elections 2008-2016 but not in mid-term elections of 2010 and 2014), by both numbers and percentages of voter party registrations, first both requested ballots:

And by accepted ballots:

Finally, to give some sense for folks of how North Carolinians have tended to vote (by method) since 2008, the following charts demonstrate how voters tend to prefer early voting in presidential years, but Election Day voting in mid-terms. However, this year may see a significant shift in that approach to voting methods, and especially by party registration:

First, 2008 and 2010 voting methods and party registration within each method:

And then, 2012 and 2014 voting methods and party registration:

Now, 2016's voting methods and party registration, and what we are seeing so far in 2018's approach within absentee ballots:

Since we are half-way through and are in the final full weekend of early voting, it will be key to watch how these numbers and trends develop over the final week leading into the final week before November 6. As to predictive power of these numbers for how each party is doing, we'll need to wait until the evening of Election Day to find out. 

As a reminder: all data comes from the North Carolina Board of Elections website