George Mason University government professor Michael McDonald, who studies early voting patterns, said the campaigns don’t need to panic quite yet. “There’s no real threat to the campaigns from early voting in the immediate short term because the sorts of voters who are voting right now… are people who have already made up their minds,” McDonald said. “They are hard-core partisans. Any more information you can throw at them is only going to reinforce their decision.”
Most early voters will hold off for a few more weeks. The highest volume will cast their ballots the week before the election, in time for at least the first two presidential debates (on Oct. 3 and Oct. 16) and other campaign maneuvers to make an impression. Still, it’s time for both campaigns to start closing the deal.
“We’ve evolved to the point where every day’s Election Day,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It used to be that there was always tomorrow in a campaign–‘We’re down but we’re going to come back tomorrow.’ Well now tomorrow never comes, to quote the Bond movie. Because it’s always Election Day, it takes away some of your hope if you’re down. And it increases the pressure on you, because at very minute, somebody is voting and they’re closing the book on you.”