Obama Dominating Among Early Voters
Nate Silver points to a recent survey suggesting Obama is well ahead in the early and absentee votes cast so far in five states polled: New Mexico (+23%), Ohio (+18%), Georgia (+6%), Iowa (+34%), and North Carolina (+34%).
For a little historical perspective: “Early voters leaned Republican in both 2000 and 2004; with Bush earning 62.2 percent of their votes against Al Gore, and 60.4 percent against John Kerry.”
There’s obviously a large enthusiasm gap between the two parties, and it only seems to be growing as we get closer to Election Day. Sarah Palin was McCain’s attempt to close that gap. I would argue that he needed to focus on independents and swing voters, rather than enthusiasm within his own party, but I can see his reasoning. The 2004 election was decided on turn out, and perhaps he thought Palin would boost Republican turnout while he could lure independents with a reform message.
That doesn’t appear to be working out, and McCain is losing the trust of independents. Conventional wisdom says the race will tighten a little before the election, but that isn’t a given. Momentum could keep the candidates on their current trajectories. Everything for McCain is riding on tonight’s debate, and even that won’t likely be enough to get him out of the hole he is in.