Early Voting Shows Hillary Leading
Early voting edge in five key states, including Wisconsin. But oh, was that misleading.
Updated at 8:45, November 9: The online magazine Slate decided to try an experiment working with VoteCastr to report voting as it came in, and the results of its early vote estimates looked good for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In a race where many states had high numbers of early voters, she was outdrawing voters who support Republican Donald Trump. As we now know, the early vote was quite misleading.
In Wisconsin, as Slate reported yesterday, the early vote numbers were as follows:
2016 Early Vote: 560,455 early votes, 18.3 percent of total votes cast in 2012
Clinton 295,302 early votes, 18.2 percent of Obama’s 2012 total vote total
Trump: 225,281 early votes, 16.0 percent of Romney’s 2012 total vote total
In 2012 Obama won, 52.8 percent to 46.1 percent. That’s almost exactly the margin Clinton has in this state’s early voting.
The higher numbers of early voters for Clinton suggested she had a stronger ground game. Indeed, in most states, Clinton crushed Trump when it came to the number of local field offices. And Slate also reported that in five other key states carried by Obama in 2012, four of them showed Clinton leading in early voting:
-In Florida, where the early vote was at nearly 42 percent of the votes cast in that state in 2012, Clinton led Trump by 2.8 percent.
-In Iowa, where the early vote equaled 35.6 percent of total votes cast in 2012, Clinton led by 4.9 percent.
-In Nevada, where the early vote totals exceeded 58 percent of the 2012 total, Clinton led by 1.2 percent.
-In Ohio where the early vote equaled nearly 24 percent of the 2012 vote, Clinton led by 3.9 percent.
-In Pennsylvania where the early vote was tiny, just 3.5 percent of the 2012 vote in that state, Trump was ahead by a whopping 7 percent.
-In Colorado, where the early vote exceeded 58 percent of its 2012 vote, Clinton led by 2.7 percent.
As it turned out, Trump carried Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania, so the early voting wasn’t much of a predictor of who won. Only in Colorado and Nevada were the numbers a clue to what the ultimate vote would be. Instead the tiny early vote in Pennsylvania was more of a portent of things to come. In short, Slate may want to retire its first-of-a-kind approach, reporting voting as it was happening (and its later reports through the day yesterday, until the real results came in, were even more inaccurate).
Then again, all the pre-election polls and poll analysts (ah, Nate Silver, your crystal ball is no longer infallible) were almost uniformly wrong. In the real election, Trump voters came out in droves, upsetting all expectations and all poll analysts, all of whom had Clinton winning the popular vote by about two to three percent and the electoral vote handily. The political predictions business suddenly looks very questionable.