Monday, October 20, 2014

Moving into Final 2 Weeks of NC's General Election Campaign

As we move into the final two weeks of North Carolina's general election campaign, we are seeing a definite uptick in mail-in ballots requested, especially by registered Republicans, along with a tightening of the returned and accepted ballots between both Democrats and Republicans.

At this point, with 64,255 requests in for mail-in ballots as of Saturday, Oct. 18 (18 days out from the election), 2014 has easily surpassed 2010's same-day total by over 22,000 requests. 

Among these 64K requested mail-in ballots:
  • registered Republicans are 43 percent of the total requests
  • registered Democrats are 33 percent
  • registered unaffiliated voters are 24 percent
  • female voters are 56 percent
  • white voters are 84 percent
  • black voters are 11 percent
Among the 14,678 ballots that have been returned and accepted (23 percent of the requested ballots so far):

  • Registered Democrats and Republicans are tied at 39 percent each
  • registered unaffiliated voters are 22 percent
  • women are 54 percent of the returned and accepted ballots
  • white voters are 84 percent
  • black voters are 12 percent

While registered Democrats and Republicans are now tied in their returned and accepted ballots, registered Republicans are slightly below their 2010 corresponding numbers, while Democrats are 43 percent ahead and registered unaffiliated voters are 37 percent ahead of where they were in 2010 on the same day.

I also ran some analyses using these numbers, first by dividing up the counties into urban, suburban, and rural classifications and comparing the numbers to the 2010 percentages as well.

Democrats and unaffiliated voters are over-performing their 2010 performance in all three regional areas, while Republicans have seen their 2014 shares cut significantly (down 7 to 8 percent).

Finally, I compared the final party registration percentages for mail-in balloting in the 2006-2012 general elections with the 10-19-14 totals so far:

Democrats are near their 2006 percentage total (a Democratic wave year) while unaffiliated voters have matched their best percentage (2012's general election).  Another week of early mail-in balloting (requests are due by October 28), along with the start of in-person early voting this Thursday (October 23), will dramatically reshape these percentages, of course, but early numbers continue to indicate something is different in this year's mid-term election performance so far in North Carolina.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ending the Week on Continued Rising Numbers of NC Mail-In Ballots

As we near the end of the third week before the general election, the numbers continue to climb in North Carolina's mail-in absentee balloting.

Among requested ballots recorded yesterday (Thursday), there was an 11 percent increase from the day before (Wednesday) to 58,574. The breakdowns for these requested ballots show registered Republicans maintaining their lead over registered Democrats:

Among the requested ballots so far:

  • 42 percent are from registered Republicans
  • 34 percent are from registered Democrats
  • 24 percent are from registered unaffiliated voters
  • 56 percent are from female voters
  • 84 percent are from white voters
  • 11 percent are from black voters

Republicans are heading back into their traditional advantage in mail-in absentee balloting in terms of the percentage of requests, but Democrats and unaffiliated voters are still significantly ahead of their same day numbers from four years ago.

Among those ballots returned and accepted as votes, 22 percent have been returned and accepted:

Among the returned and accepted ballots:
  • registered Democrats are 40 percent
  • registered Republicans are 38 percent
  • registered unaffiliated voters are 22 percent
  • Women are 54 percent
  • White voters are 83 percent
  • Black voters are 12 percent
The percentage increase from four years ago, with same day comparisons, continue to show Democrats and unaffiliated voters are substantially ahead, with Republicans slightly below their 2010 same-day number:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Republicans Expand Their Requested Ballot Lead, But Democrats Maintain Their Accepted Lead

Registered Republican voters in North Carolina have expanded their lead in mail-in absentee ballot requests, while registered Democrats have maintained their lead in returned and accepted mail-in absentee ballots.

Among the nearly 53,000 requested ballots sent out so far:

  • Registered Republicans are 41 percent of the requested ballots
  • Registered Democrats are 36 percent of the requested ballots
  • Registered unaffiliated voters are 24 percent of the requested ballots
  • Women are 56 percent
  • White voters are 83 percent
  • Black voters are 12 percent
Among the 11,226 returned and accepted ballots (21 percent of the requested) that will be counted on November 4:

Among these returned and accepted ballots:

  • Registered Democrats are 41 percent
  • Registered Republicans are 37 percent
  • Registered unaffiliated voters are 22 percent
  • Women are 54 percent
  • White voters are 83 percent
  • Black voters are 13 percent
An interesting dive deeper into the data shows an interesting pattern regarding age of these mail-in voters.  While the mean age of requested ballots is 61 years old, there is variation within party registration when broken by age ranges (these age ranges are the classification done by the NC State Board of Elections, with 18-25 years old, 26-40, 41-65 and over 66).

It is not surprising that registered Democrats and Republicans tend to skew older, but among unaffiliated voters, 25 percent of their requested ballots are from voters under the age of 40, compared to 16 and 14 percent respectively for registered Democrats and Republicans.

Among those voters who have returned their ballots and had them accepted so far, 16 percent of registered unaffiliated voters are under 40, while only 12 and 10 percent of registered Democrats and Republicans (respectively) are.

New Blog Post at WFAE's The Party Line

I look at some trends that appear to be happening with NC's potential electorate and the U.S. Senate race at a new post on WFAE's The Party Line blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Down to the Last 3 Weeks in NC's Campaigning

We're down to the last three weeks of campaigning here in North Carolina, and the votes are coming in through mail-in absentee balloting.

Of the 48,625 requested mail-in absentee ballots in North Carolina so far:

Registered Republican voters are taking a more extensive lead, with 39 percent of the requested ballots to 37 percent from registered Democratic voters; registered unaffiliated voters are at 24 percent.  Female voters are still at 56 percent, while white voters are 83 percent of the requested ballots and black voters are at 12 percent.

Among the 9,952 ballots returned and accepted so far (a 20 percent return rate of those requested):

Registered Democrats continue their lead in this category with 41 percent of the accepted ballots, to registered Republicans at 37 percent and registered unaffiliated voters at 22 percent. White voters are 82 percent, black voters are 13 percent, and female voters are 54 percent of the returned and accepted ballots.

In comparing the same-day totals for returned and accepted ballots to the 2010 numbers:

Registered Democrats are 57 percent ahead of where they were this same day in 2010, while registered Republicans are slightly below (4 percent) where they were this same day; registered unaffiliated voters are 42 percent ahead of their numbers in 2010.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Awaiting Wednesday's Numbers

With the weekend and the holiday on Monday, the numbers for North Carolina's mail-in absentee ballots have moved slowly, but we should expect a fairly large increase in the numbers come Wednesday following processing today.

Today's numbers show 45,216 requested ballots (non-duplicate cases), with the following breakdowns:

  • Ballots sent out to registered Republican voters: 39 percent
  • registered Democratic voters: 37 percent
  • registered unaffiliated & Libertarian voters: 24 percent
  • Women: 57 percent
  • Men: 43 percent
  • Whites: 83 percent
  • Blacks: 12 percent
Among those 9,083 ballots returned and accepted for the November 4 election: 

  • from registered Democratic voters: 41.9 percent
  • registered Republican voters: 36.4 percent
  • registered unaffiliated & Libertarian voters: 21.6 percent
  • Females: 53.9 percent
  • Males: 45.3 percent
  • Whites: 82.3 percent
  • Blacks: 13.1 percent
The percentage increases over the same-day totals from 2010 for the three major party registration classifications are:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back & Forth By Republicans & Democrats in NC's Mail-In Balloting

With some additional numbers over the weekend, the race towards November 4 has drawn closer among the two major parties in terms of requested mail-in ballots, but one party still commands in returned and accepted ballots so far.

First, a clarification: after conversations with Nate Cohn of the New York Times' The Upshot, a further refining of the data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections is going to be done from now until Election Day. The data contained entries for voters who both requested a mail-in ballot and returned it, but in two separate and duplicate records for the same voter. As of this morning, I scrubbed the data when loaded into SPSS for the duplicate records and filtered them out. Therefore, you may see some slight 'drops' in the numbers in comparison to previous posts on NC's mail-in absentee ballots (for example, the total of duplicated records was 710 out of 42,940 in today's data, so we're working with a baseline of 42,230 requested ballots).

Of these 42,230 requested ballots that have been sent out, registered Republicans have taken a slight lead, with 38.1 percent to registered Democrats at 37.9 percent and registered unaffiliated voters at 23.7 percent.

While Republicans may cheer this new found lead, historically they had a much more substantial lead over Democrats and unaffiliated voters, such as with the column bar graphs from 2010 in the above graphic show.

Among the requested ballots, 56.6 percent come from female voters while white voters are 82.4 percent and black voters are 12.3 percent. 

And while Republicans can claim the lead in requested ballots, Democrats can claim a continuing lead in returned and accepted ballots.

Of the 8,512 returned ballots that have been accepted, registered Democrats are 42.3 percent to registered Republicans at 36.1 percent, with unaffiliated voters at 21.4 percent.  Females are 53.8 percent and while voters are 82.1 percent and black voters are 13.3 percent.

Finally, in looking at how this year's mail-in absentee voters participated in the 2010 election, a significant majority of the voters did not use mail-in absentee voting as their method of participation (or lack thereof) in 2010.