Update: The data is still up at the Gannett site, but they’ve pulled the link from the front page. Justin Higgins says that OH won’t release EV data separately:
@edmorrissey Ohio doesn’t report early results until the polls close.
— Justin Higgins (@JustinHiggins) November 6, 2012
Original post follows, but if this turns out to be wrong, Gannett may have some explaining to do about why they put it up on their website’s front page.
Update II: Via MKH, Cook Report’s Dave Wasserman crunched the numbers and figures the GOP has achieved parity in Ohio early voting:
By my calc, in ’08, 24.8% of registered voters in Obama’s OH counties voted early, 19.1% in McCain. Today, 21.7% Obama and 21.3% McCain
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 6, 2012
Update III: Since I owe you some good news on this topic, here’s Josh Kraushaar, via John Nolte:
Overall, early vote turnout OH up 2.44% in state. Down -4.1% in Obama/Kerry counties; up 14.39% in Bush/McCain counties.
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 6, 2012
That’s a huge enthusiasm advantage.
Update IV: Gannett finally issued a retraction and an apology:
A Cincinnati.com front-page link to a chart with dummy data, created as a design template for election results, was inadvertently posted early Tuesday morning.
It purported to show early voting totals in Ohio counties. However, no votes have been counted yet – by law counting doesn’t start until the polls close.
Cincinnati.com regrets the error.
So says Gannett’s Cincinnati.com, which has the data from the state government posted at its site this morning. I put the question mark on the data because I don’t see anything up yet at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, but occasionally the media will get updates prior to the website. According to the data, Mitt Romney already has 697,143 votes before the polls opened a couple of hours ago, while Barack Obama only has 605,546, a difference of almost 92,000 votes. The data is time-stamped at 2:03 ET this morning, and the link on the front page of the site reads, “Early voters: How Ohio has voted.”
A few counties have not yet reported any early-voting results, but one county in particular looks huge. Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, should be a Democratic stronghold, and perhaps the one area where Democratic early-voting efforts should have produced their biggest lead. Instead, Romney has a lead of about 14,000 votes already, 127,570 to 113,373. In Hamilton County, where Cincinnati itself is located, Romney leads by over 5,000, 29,969 to 24,808. A quick scan of the data shows Romney leading in every county with more than 25,000 EVs.
This may be a very big deal, if these numbers are correct. Obama had a big lead in EVs before Election Day in 2008, which allowed him to withstand the GOP’s better turnout on the day itself. Frankly, Team Romney might have been thrilled to be trailing by 92K at this juncture. To be ahead in early voting portends a big Republican turnout in the Buckeye State, and perhaps an early night for all of us. We’ll see, but this is the first indication of unforeseen Romney strength in this election.