CNN Politics

By Ethan Cohen and Liz Stark | October 12, 2020

Democrats are far outpacing Republicans in ballots cast so far in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that President Donald Trump won by less than one percentage point in 2016.

Democrats are responsible for 76% of the ballots cast so far in the state, despite making up roughly 47% of registered voters. Meanwhile, Republicans make up almost 39% of registered voters in Pennsylvania but have only cast 16% of the ballots so far.With 22 days until Election Day, Democrats also lead Republicans in pre-election voting in eight more key states that could decide the next president.

This detailed pre-election voting information comes from Catalist, a company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and nonprofit issue-advocacy organizations and is giving new insights into who is voting before November. Catalist analyzed almost 8 million ballots cast in 31 states so far.The returns represent a small fraction of the expected number of ballots to be cast in 2020, as Trump and Hillary Clinton received about 130 million votes combined four years ago.

n those competitively rated states with party data available, Democratic voters represent a greater share of pre-Election Day voting than Republicans, as early and mail voting have surged amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although that is not predictive of the ultimate outcome of any race, the data reflects polling that shows Republicans strongly prefer voting in-person on Election Day rather than early.In almost all of those key states, Democratic voters also make up a larger share of those who have cast ballots so far this year than they did at this point in the 2016 cycle.

In fact, in Florida and North Carolina, Republican voters actually led in ballots cast at this point four years ago. But now, Democrats hold a 22-point lead over Republicans in the share of ballots cast in Florida and a 33-point lead in North Carolina.

Catalist’s voting information also provide insights into the racial composition of early voters this cycle.

White voters currently comprise a majority of the early ballots cast in each of CNN’s most competitive states where data by race is available. In almost all of those key states, however, White voters make up a smaller share of the ballots cast now than they did at this time four years ago.

Here is a deeper look at these trends in some key states.

Florida

Florida voters have returned about 2.5 times as many ballots as at this time in 2016.Black and Hispanic voters in the Sunshine State comprise slightly greater shares of ballots cast so far compared to this point four years ago. Black voters currently account for 11% of those ballots, up from 8% in 2016, and Hispanic voters represent 12% of ballots cast, up from 10% then.White voters still account for the vast majority of pre-Election Day ballots in Florida, but their share is down compared to at this point in 2016. They comprised about 80% of advance votes four years ago but about 73% now.According to exit polls, White voters made up 62% of Florida’s electorate in 2016, so it’s possible they could be overrepresented in the early vote breakdown compared to what Florida’s total pool of voters will look like in November.

Georgia

Voters in the Peach State have also more than doubled their ballot returns compared to this time in 2016. Of CNN’s most competitive states with race data available, Georgia currently has the smallest share of ballots cast by White voters. Georgia also has the largest share of ballots cast by Black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc, among those key states. Black voters have cast a greater share of pre-Election Day votes this cycle compared to this point in 2016, representing over 35% of those early ballots now, up from 29% four years ago. White voters have cast a smaller share of ballots ahead of the election, dropping from 68% in 2016 to 58% currently.

North Carolina

Ballot returns in North Carolina are more than 9 times larger than this point in 2016. Black voters make up a larger share of those who have already cast ballots than they did at this point four years ago. 17% of ballots cast have come from Black voters, compared to just 9% at this point four years ago.Meanwhile, White voters’ share of the ballots cast has dropped roughly 10 percentage points — from 86% four years ago at this time to 76% now.

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