Election Outlook as of Tuesday October 5th

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Date:     October 5, 2010

To:          Interested Parties

From:    Gentry Collins, RNC Political Director

RE:          Absentee and Early Voting: Reading the Tea-Leaves

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Yesterday we looked at the size and performance of our ground-game, the “boots-on-the-ground” volunteer voter contact effort that can move so many votes in close elections.  That effort is more robust than any previous mid-term cycle, and bigger even than many presidential cycles’ volunteer efforts.  The question now is whether all that volunteer voter contact is having a positive impact.

One early indicator is partisan performance in absentee and early voting states.  There is early or in-person absentee voting going on in a dozen states right now, with five more opening next week.  More than 30 states have mailed out absentee ballots already.  So how are Republicans faring in these earliest contests?  Quite well.  Let’s look at a few examples.

According to the Cleveland Plains Dealer, Republicans lead Democrats in the three largest counties which comprise nearly a third of the Ohio vote.  These of course are traditionally areas where Democrats need to perform well to have a chance statewide.  Obama won 68%, 60%, and 52% in these counties (Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton) in 2008.  And it isn’t just that Republicans have closed the gap, it’s that Republican requests actually lead Democrats in two of the three counties in raw numbers.  And in the third, while Democrats have a 4-to-1 registration advantage, 33% of Republicans have requested a ballot compared to just 18% of Democrats.  To see the entire article, click here: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2010/09/republicans_have_requested_mor.html

In Colorado, our Victory program has focused since February on increasing the number of voters on the state’s permanent absentee list.  Since then, we have added more than 38,000 Republicans to the permanent list.  Democrats on the permanent list actually declined.  As of today, Republicans receiving absentee ballots in Colorado outnumber Democrats by about 43,000.

In Florida, volunteers in our Victory centers have been urging presidential-year-only Republican voters to request an absentee ballot.  The results are clear: of the more than 1.4 million requests to date, Republicans account for 47.5% while Democrats account for just 36.5% of those requests.

And in North Carolina, so far this year Republicans account for almost 46% of absentee ballots returned versus just 36% for Democrats.  During President Bush’s first mid-term, Democrats accounted for 72% of the ballots returned at this point in the cycle versus 25% for Republicans.

Nationally, we project that almost 40% of the vote will turn out before Election Day this year.  But in 11 states, the share of pre-Election Day voting will exceed 50% or more.  In fact, among the states with early voting, we project that about 55% of ballots will be cast before Election Day. So the early focus on, and success in early and absentee voting, is a great sign for Republicans around the country.

Message in the tea-leaves?  Watch for big Republican turnout across the country this fall.

http://gop.com/index.php/political

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