President Obama appears to have an early edge over Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, as millions of Americans have cast their ballots early across the United States. However, with fewer early ballots cast by Democrats than in 2008, the numbers may be an early indication of trouble for the Democratic Party.
More than 34 million Americans in 34 states and the District of Columbia have already cast their ballots, comprising 35% of the expected overall voter turnout. While these ballots will not officially count until Election Day, many states offer information about the party affiliation of voters — providing an early indication of what may transpire on Tuesday.
Democrats currently lead in 4 out of 5 battleground contests where states provide voters’ party identification information: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina. Republicans currently have a slight lead over Democrats in Colorado, a reversal from four years ago.
Even where Democrats are ahead, their lead has lessened from the previous presidential election, with fewer early ballots cast for Democrats and more for Republicans.
In Nevada, a swing state that polls suggest is leaning Obama, early votes accounted for 67% of total votes cast in 2008. During that election, Nevada’s early voters selected the president over Senator McCain by 12 points. This year, Obama’s lead has shrunk to only 7 — according to the Associated Press.
Many Republicans see the Obama-leaning early voting results as a reason to celebrate.
"[Democrats] are underperforming what their 2008 numbers were and we are overperforming where we were in 2008," said Romney's political director, Rich Beeson. "We feel very good heading into the Tuesday election."
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