Later today, Barack Obama will become the first sitting president to vote early in-person. Shortly after, he’ll touch down in the crucial battleground state of Ohio—a state where early vote has been underway for three weeks now. Looking at the numbers, we’re already ahead of the where we were in 2008 and, most importantly, we’re ahead of Mitt Romney.
Here’s a look at why:
Early vote has always been a top priority for our grassroots organization in Ohio, and it’s now paying off in major ways. Before the first day of early vote, hundreds of students camped out at The Ohio State University in Columbus, in Cincinnati, Dayton and elsewhere, braving bad weather to be the first at the polls at 5:00 a.m. On that first day, more Ohioans voted in the largest counties—all counties the President won in 2008—than did on the first day of early vote four years ago.
It hasn’t let up since. We’ve seen groups as big as 100 voters strong going together to vote in Athens, student marching bands leading people to the polls in Cincinnati, and neighbors driving their neighbors through Bowling Green in golf carts to get to and from the polls. Yesterday in Toledo, nearly 100 workers came together across the street from an early vote site to celebrate extended voting hours. These are all signs of a state excited to vote for President Obama and a measure of our strong grassroots foundation.
We see it in the hard data, too. The way to gauge success in Ohio, where voters don’t register with a party affiliation, is by looking at how individual counties and precincts voted in 2008—and those numbers look really good:
Counties and precincts that Obama won in 2008 are voting early at a higher rate than counties that voted Republican four years ago.
In counties that Obama won in 2008, 10 percent of registered voters have already cast their ballots, versus only 7 percent in Republican counties.
Voters in precincts that voted for Obama in 2008 have cast more than half (54 percent) of the 2012 ballots.
Voters in precincts that voted for Obama in 2008 have cast 53,000 more ballots this year than those in precincts that voted Republican in 2008. At this point four years ago, our lead in these same GOP precincts was just 30,000 ballots.
President Obama leads Mitt Romney by double-digits in every public poll of early voters. A new Time poll shows the President up 60-30 overall, with big leads among women and voters younger than 40.
We’re also encouraged by the enthusiasm among Ohio voters who didn’t vote in the midterm election and who matter most in a get-out-the-vote effort. Non-midterm voters who live in precincts that voted for Obama in 2008 have cast 52 percent more ballots compared with non-midterm voters in Republican precincts.
While we’re seeing such strong support across Ohio, Republicans are trying to talk up their ground game, too. But their math here is just as questionable as Mitt Romney’s tax plan that doesn’t add up, his jobs plan that doesn’t create jobs, and his deficit plan that doesn’t reduce the deficit.
You see, when the Romney campaign boasts that Republicans are out-performing their voter registration, they forget to tell you that Ohio doesn’t have party registration—state officials simply identify you by the party in whose primary you most recently voted. And because Republicans had a competitive primary this year and Democrats did not, Republicans naturally have a 460,000-person edge this year among past primary voters—what Romney’s campaign is disingenuously referring to as “registered Republicans.” But as you can see in the numbers above, Democratic primary voters are outvoting Republican primary voters by a wide margin across the state anyway. You can read more about why this Republican spin doesn’t pass the laugh test in a note I wrote last week.
We’re more than happy to put our numbers against theirs any day of the week. And since every day is Election Day in Ohio, we can.