The Washington Post reports that Democrats are dominating early voting in Nevada. Business Insider notes that Latino early voting in Florida is up 99 percent over 2012’s figures, suggesting a strong showing for Hillary Clinton there. But Fox News warns that the early voting numbers indicate a very close race. These divergent views serve as an important reminder that as popular as early voting is, it doesn’t actually tell us very much about who’s going to win the election.
Let’s look at states that had early voting in 2012 and reported the party registration of early voters (using the invaluable data collection provided by Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida). There were only 12 such states that year. For each state, I calculated the Democratic share of the two-party early vote and the Democratic share of the two-party total vote. (So we’re excluding third-party candidates from both numbers.)