Early voting has been kicked around as an indicator of how the vote will turn out. It’s not perfect, since it reflects a combination of opinion, voter intensity, and maybe get-out-the-vote efforts. Still, here are some comparisons, taken from Prof. Michael McDonald’s early voting site at George Mason University. These are the fraction of early voters who were registered as Democrats.
|State||2004 %D||2008 %D||2012 %D|
The basic pattern is clear: an increase from 2004 to 2008, and a decrease from 2008 to 2012. In these cases, the decrease since 2008 averaged 3.5%. Subtracted from the Obama-McCain popular vote margin, 7.3%, that would leave Obama +3.8%, not so far from where the Meta-Margin is.
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