The North Carolina Board of Elections is great: they give you turnout by day, by type (mostly in person early voting), by gender and by party affiliation.
This means you can compare the numbers to four years ago (when North Carolina also had an awful lot of early voting), and can draw some interesting conclusions.
So, here they come:
Turnout is up – and it’s mostly in person early voting. At this stage in 2016, 1.6 million people had voted early (or by mail). This time around it’s 3.1 million. And there are still around 250,000 people voting every weekday. 4.55 million people voted for Trump on Clinton last time around – we might see a similar turnout before election day even rolls around this year.
The proportion of African Americans voting early is not up: they make up 21% of turnout in North Carolina so far, against 22% in early voting in 2016, and well down on the 27% Barack Obama got in 2012. But it’s not all good news for the Republicans: many more women than men have voted, and the gap is bigger than in 2016 or 2012. (People who identify as men – yes, yes, I know but that’s how NCSBE does it – make up less than 41% of early voters.)
The Democrats currently have a big lead: using the registered supporters metric, they’re ahead by eleven points.
Now, this lead is very similar to 2016, when they lost the State to the Republicans.
But there’s a big difference: in 2016, the total early vote was much smaller (it was 3.1 million, a total that has already been surpassed) and there were 1.6 million votes on the day. This time, the number will be far smaller – I’d guess less than a million. That means that President Trump has to win “on the day voting” by three-to-one or more to be in with a shot. Doable? Yes. Easy? No Siree.
One last thought. At current rates of voting, and assuming that Biden is picking up half unaffiliated voters, Biden will pass Clinton’s vote total at the end of day on Thursday – a full four days before the election.
You can currently get close to Evens on the Democrats winning North Carolina. Take it.