Early voting has been on the rise. Gallup released a new report today that notes 11% of registered voters have already cast their ballots, with another 19% saying they still plan to vote before Election Day. If 30% vote early it will represent a 7-point increase over the 22% who cast early ballots in 2004. Early voting as of late October 2008 nearly matches what it was at the same time in 2004. But Gallup also notes a higher percentage of registered voters expressing intent to vote early compared to 2004. Here's Gallup's finding:
The pace of early voting so far appears to be roughly on par with 2004. At about this time before that year's election -- Oct. 22-24 -- 9% of registered voters said they had already voted. However, in that 2004 poll, only an additional 13% said they intended to vote early, lower than the 19% who say so in the current Oct. 20-22 average. Thus, early voting this year may end up being higher than it was in 2004. (In Gallup's final poll before the election that year, conducted Oct. 29-31, 17% said they had voted early, and another 4% claimed they were still going to vote before Election Day.) As noted above, projections from this year's data are that as many as 30% of voters could end up voting early.
Gallup also notes that nearly the same proportion of McCain and Obama supporters have cast early ballots. But because Obama leads in the polls, he also has the edge in early voting results:
Obama has been ahead in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted while these data were being gathered. Thus, while equal percentages of Obama and McCain voters have voted early, there are more of the former than of the latter, meaning that early voting generally reflects the same Obama lead evident in the overall sample.
This, of course, is not great news for John McCain because even if he surges in the last 10 days, the lead Obama currently enjoys would be locked in among the early voters. Read the full Gallup report here.
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