The pre-election polls are clear for Georgia: Trump is way ahead, and based on record-breaking early voting numbers, should perform according to the polls.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) February 29, 2016
In 2008, the voter split was 119,209 early voters for the GOP of 963,541 overall GOP votes according to Kemp’s office. That’s a 12.4 percent early percentage on 21.5 percent total (overall) voter turnout.
So far, if the turnout increase of 2016 over 2008 was applied to election day, we’d be on target for a 45.2 percent turnout, which fails the laugh test. It’s more likely that the early voter percentage has increased since 2008.
The scenario I’ve modeled is fairly aggressive: a 30 percent total turnout increase for the GOP, with an additional 158,000 voters showing up on election day. That brings the total turnout from 21.5 percent in 2008 (when the Democrats had a closer race) to 25.8 percent for this year (overall), with the GOP taking the lion’s share of the voters (and 22 percent voting early).
Given the level of effort both Rubio and Cruz have put into the state in the last week, and the rather shameful debate and post-debate performance of Donald Trump, I feel that Cruz and Rubio voters will double their efforts to get people to the polls. For Trump, it appears to be a matter of how big a win he’ll have. I don’t see either Cruz or Rubio overcoming his likely massive early voting lead.
By the model: Trump would get over 450,000 votes, at 36.6 percent. Rubio and Cruz would be nearly neck and neck with between 325 and 335 thousand.
Magic numbers (not including early voters):
- If Trump passes 108,000 votes with 30 percent reporting, he’s on track to win big.
- If Rubio hits 81,000 at the 30 percent mark, he’s almost guaranteed second place.
- Cruz has to hit at least 84,000 with 30 percent reporting to take second from a surging Rubio.
Note that this is based on a 30 percent total turnout increase. If we get another hundred thousand voters showing up, the totals go up proportionally. Based on the early voting spread, Trump likely already has over 97,000 votes in his tally, with Rubio at 57,600 and Cruz around 52,600. Cruz may make up some ground on election day, but we will know early.
Here’s the fun part: point your browser at DecisionDeskHQ.com where I’ll be volunteering tomorrow night and covering the race in Georgia. If you sign up today for premium website content, you’ll see the same detailed data and projections we’ll see at DDHQ, plus you’ll receive the daily Decision Desk newsletter (it’s worth the money–shameless plug).
Oh, and if you’re waiting for the Super Tuesday edition of Drop Out Bingo, don’t bother. If your last name isn’t Trump, Rubio or Cruz, you should go home regardless.