In every state where Donald Trump has triumphed in the primaries (and even in Iowa where he lost to Ted Cruz), the trend in 2016 has been for record and massive turnout at the polls. But early voting is on a record pace, and could dampen the effects of Trump’s truly ghastly debate performance last night.
Let’s look at Georgia.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp says the number of voters in this election might just beat the historic election in 2008.
“In that 2008 election the total percentage of vote after election day was a little over 45% so we’re very excited and hopeful that Georgians will turn out and help us break that record,” Kemp said.
Kemp says as of Thursday, 5,000 more people had voted early statewide than in the 2008 primary, and there is still one day left.
In key counties like Fulton (which encompasses much of Atlanta), early voting is reported to be three times what was seen in 2008.
If we look at the 2004 general election, when early voting was more of a novelty, in Georgia 60.9 percent of votes were cast before election day. Kemp’s office told The Resurgent today that 2016 primary total early voting stands at over 311,000 with one day left; 60,701 votes were cast on Thursday alone.
It’s very possible that many of Trump’s supporters have already voted (regretfully or not), at least in Georgia and probably in other Super Tuesday states. In Tennessee, where early voting ended Tuesday, 383,259 votes were cast, 16 percent more than their previous record in 2008. If the forecast 860,000 voters show up Tuesday, 30.8 percent will have voted early.
These massive turnouts put Trump in virgin territory, statistically, blowing through his ceiling by attracting so many new voters to the polls. Our assumptions about his ability to translate support to votes have to this point been wrong.
But now, with some–hopefully–serious damage done to Trump’s gilded brand, and with only days to capitalize on it, the question remains how many points Cruz and Rubio can gain from their effort. Will it be too little, too late? Ohio and Illinois are already accepting early votes for that primary, and Florida early voting opens Monday.
Of the 19 non-caucus states voting between March 1, the first Super Tuesday, and March 15, the second so-called Super Tuesday, early voting is currently taking place in 11 of the states.
With millions of votes already cast, we may not know the full effects of Trump’s debate debacle until March 15.