Pre-election voting is skyrocketing across the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and states are reporting record turnout as voters are motivated to vote by mail or early in person before November.
Below is a look at the skyrocketing participation in several key states President Trump won with the narrowest margins in 2016:
Florida: Trump won Florida by just over a percentage point in 2016 and re-capturing the Sunshine State this year is critical to his re-election prospects.
While Florida Democrats retain an advantage in pre-election turnout, Catalist data shows the gap is narrowing as more voters participate in early voting statewide.
Democrats now account for 43% of those early votes, while Republicans make up 36%. At this point in 2016, Republicans held a lead of about a point in pre-election turnout.
This high turnout among Florida Democrats is reflected in recent polls on voter behavior in the Sunshine State.
A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows that about 35% of probable voters in Florida say they have already voted. Of this group, 71% say they support former Vice President Joe Biden and 27% support Trump. Fifty-six percent of those who have not yet voted say they support Trump, and 40% say they support Biden.
However, this is not predictive of the end result, as polls show Democrats across the country are more likely to vote before Election Day than Republicans.
North Carolina: North Carolina Democrats also overtake Republicans in their percentage of pre-election votes, but again, that margin is narrowing amid an increase in early votes in Tar Heel state.
About 40% of the first votes Catalist analyzed are from Democrats, compared to 30% from Republicans so far. This is similar to the partisan distribution of pre-election votes at this point in 2016.
However, Republicans have narrowed the gap in their share of early voting in recent weeks.
Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania – a key state Trump won by less than a percentage point in 2016 – Democrats continue to hold a significant advantage over Republicans in their share of votes already cast, according to data from the Catalist Party.
So far, about 70% of the pre-election votes have come from Democrats, compared to about 20% from Republicans.
Michigan: Michigan’s 16 electoral votes helped make Trump president four years ago, when the state broke its streak of six consecutive elections by voting for the Democratic presidential candidate.
Turnout in Wolverine State this century peaked in 2008 with over 5 million votes cast for the president. A 2018 voting measure changed Michigan’s rules to allow anyone to vote by post without excuse, and voting returns this year are more than triple what they were four years ago, according to data from Catalist.
A review of these returns by race shows that black voters’ ballots make up 12% of the current vote, up from 8% at this point in the 2016 cycle. Democrats hope to increase black voter turnout in areas like Detroit in their quest to bring Michigan back to the blue column.
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