Saturday, November 5, 2022


Photo by Getty Images.

I have a message of reassurance with regard to that NPR/Marist survey on voter enthusiasm on the way to Tuesday, which found that people most likely to vote Republican—the old, rustic, the evangelical, the white—are fired up with wild enthusiasm while those likely to vote Democratic—the young, the urban, the relatively poor, Latin, and Black—are not:

In the last few weeks, however, as more voters have begun tuning into the election — and with inflation persistently high — Republican enthusiasm has outpaced Democrats'. It's not so much that Democrats aren't gaining in their enthusiasm levels — they are — it's that Republicans have increased theirs by more in that time.

Democrats are also losing ground on the generic congressional ballot test. That's when pollsters ask who a respondent would vote for if the election were held today, a Republican or Democrat.

Namely, that it's clearly misleading in some important way, if you contrast this with the pattern showing up in the actual vote in early voting, which has started in 47 states, easily beating the records set in the watershed 2018 midterms, and younger, more diverse, and more Democratic, and in some key states—Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania—even more than 2020, but also very strong in Michigan, Wisconsin, and particularly Georgia

Georgia, in particular, is seeing significant early voting turnout among Black voters. More than 130,000 more Black voters have cast ballots so far than at this point in 2018. While there are also roughly 371,000 fewer Black voters this year than in 2020, so far Black voters make up the same share of Georgia’s early electorate in 2018 and an even larger share than in 2020.

In addition to high Black voter turnout, the majority of Georgia early voters who didn’t cast a ballot in 2018 are non-White. Nearly 40% of non-voters in the Peach State are a race or ethnicity other than White – a higher share than in any other key state.


The youngest voters – those aged 18-21 years – are showing up in higher numbers in all six key states compared to this point during the 2018 general election. The number of these youngest voters in Michigan has risen from fewer than 500 in 2018 — before absentee voting was available to all in the state — to more than 23,000 so far this year. In every state except Wisconsin, 18-21-year-old voters are roughly the same or a larger share of the electorate than even this time during the 2020 election.

That and Ohio

As of Tuesday, 265,062 people across the state have voted early in-person — 88,016 more than had voted early a week before the statewide gubernatorial election in 2018. Overall, 817,644 ballots have been cast in Ohio so far, an 11% increase from this point in 2018.... Much of the state's increase in early voting numbers can be attributed to a higher early voter turnout in urban counties.

and North Carolina

The Lake Lynn location has been the busiest early voting site in the state this year, according to data from the Wake County Board of Elections.

Before polling sites opened Saturday morning, the North Carolina State Board of Elections reported about 1.97 million votes cast either in person or by mail, which means nearly 27 percent of all registered voters already had voted.

(Wake County being the state's most populous).

Which doesn't mean, obviously, that Democrats have won already—we all know that Republicans have a  tendency to favor election-day voting just as Democrats favor early and absentee—but it does point at some kind of defect in the Marist survey, and it seems to be concentrated in those states where the real nailbiter Senate contests are (minus Michigan, which isn't voting for a senator this year, and plus New Hampshire, which doesn't have early voting).

It's as if the voter enthusiasm itself was distributed that way, weak in states where Democrats have it easy (in New York a lot of people don't even realize Schumer is running, but nobody imagines he's going to lose) or where they're felt to not have a chance (in Florida early voters seem to be mostly Republicans, sad to say), focused on the places where it has a real chance to win those Senate seats. And if there's a similar lumpy distrbution in congressional districts, even the House. Just saying.

More best-quality hopium here, on the same themes, from Robert Kuttner at the Prospect.

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