Up until this weekend, the Democratic victory narrative has been this: Dems will outperform in early and mail in voting. Republicans, leerier to mail-in voting, will opt for in person voting and will outperform on election day. However, in the end, the in-person voting will not be enough to overcome the massive early voting numbers by the Democrats.
This weekend that narrative shattered in some key states. It’s absolute panic.
Politico’s lead story today contains this revealing quote about many anxiety-ridden memos in Democratic offices:
Michigan is chief among the Democrats’ worries. With 25% of the total vote in, compared to 2016, Republicans have a slim advantage heading into Election Day. It’s expected a rush of ballots from Republicans, leerier of mail voting, will be cast in-person on Nov. 3.
Michigan – Republicans have the early lead among early & mail-in voting:
Texas – Republicans shatter early voting expectations and it appears a blue Texas is gone:
Democratic Operative on Twitter: “I don’t understand how Dems are doing worse than 2016 in Texas in terms of early voting. Something is up.”
Twitter User Response: “The polls are way off–duh!”
(Read how pollsters skew the polls).
As Democratic strategists pore over early numbers, a clear and unexpected trend is emerging: The lock-downs is suppressing the college vote. On college campuses across America, during a normal election year, many of the social events are tied to campaign events for mostly Democratic candidates. Not this year with COVID-19 lock-downs.
Also, a general complacency of an inevitable Biden win has gripped campuses. As it turns out, many college outreach initiatives have been cancelled in Michigan, including virtual rallies and door-to-door canvassing, due to Biden’s lead and concerns over social distancing. The result? College students have not turned out to vote, yet.
In, Philadelphia, home to Temple U, Drexel, UPenn and LaSalle Univ, the 18-29 vote has gone from 23.1% in 2016 to 12.5% in 2018, to 11.7% in 2020.
In Dane county, WI, home to UW Madison and one of America’s most liberal college towns, the 18-29 vote has declined from 8.0% in 2016 to 7.3% in 2020. This came as a big surprise. 27% of the total 2016 vote is already in, and the WI youth vote was expected to be energized.
In Durham county, NC, home to Duke & North Carolina State University, the 18-29 vote has actually declined from 15.8% in 2016 to 14.5% in 2020. In the entire NC state, the youth vote declined from 12.4% in 2016 to 9.4% now.
Deeper Problems for the Democrats than an Absent College Demographic
Cross-tab analysis suggests the problems are deeper than an absent college demographic. Key counties in Michigan have shifted red. Most notably, Kent and Oakland counties. With a half a million votes cast in Oakland county in 2016, overwhelming for Hillary Clinton, it’s nothing less than complete shock to see early voting highly favorable to Republicans. With 25% of the Michigan vote in, these results are absolutely terrifying to Democrats.
To be very clear: These numbers will not overcome the expected rush of ballots that Republicans, leerier of mail voting, will cast in person on Nov. 3. Even if we model the data using the most optimistic expectations for Democrats on Nov. 3rd, Republicans still outnumber in the end. This data runs counter to their narrative for victory. The data also suggests the polls are off–way off. Furthermore, 25% of the total data is a significant data set that cannot be dismissed easily. It’s a data set much larger than any Michigan poll.
It’s expected that Democrats will make a pivot to encourage in-person voting as soon as possible, communicate with operatives to not become complacent, and execute with a greater sense of urgency.
2016 Results, Oakland County
Current Results Based Off Early Voting 2020 Shows Oakland County Slight Republican
It’s absolute panic for Democrats.