Saturday, November 04, 2006

Early Turnout Shows Signs of Dem Wave in OR

The wires have definitely been buzzing the last day or two, as voter files are acquired from the Secretary's office and current turnout figures pored over. We've gotten several reports both from the field and safely tucked in offices with spreadsheet software. And the news, for Democrats at least, is preliminarily good across the state, including in some unexpected (to many) areas. Everyone I talked to said they expected some of the wider margins to narrow, and close turnout races to potentially flip. So don't sip a latte' slowly in celebration this weekend, thinking the job is done.

The statewide analysis shows a total of 627,177 through the 2nd, with 277,850 of those Democrats (44.3%), 240,582 Republicans (38.4%) and 108,745 independents (17.3%). Do the math, and that's a 5.9% turnout edge across Oregon. In terms of registration, Democrats are only 39% of the total, so you can see they're outperforming their proportion. The Republicans are as well, but not to the same extent. That means that independents are behind in the early count, which may be a real trend, or it may be due to a tendency to return ballots later, or it may be the naturally low voting participation by independents. Can't tell yet.

I've also gotten reports from key areas, and the pattern of Democratic early overperformance is holding in the hot races, even some that were not considered on the competitive radar. On a head to head basis, Democrats are consistently turning in their ballots in higher percentages relative both to their own registration numbers, and vs. Republicans in the same district. In Jean Cowan's District 10, Democrats are 56% of registrants (relative just to Dems+GOP), but 59% of ballot returns. In Sal Peralta's 24, Dems are 45% of D/R registrants, but 49% of ballots. In Brian Clem's 21st, Dems are outperforming by 2.6%, and in Chris Edwards' 14th, they're outperforming by 4.2%. And in all four of those districts, Democrats are turning in at rates in the high 30s and low 40s--very strong for this point in the race.

How about the big two races in the House, to defeat Karen Minnis AND Wayne Scott? Unless this is your first time here, you know we have always said Scott was beatable, and Mike Caudle was getting to people on the ground and making that support very soft. First District 49, where Minnis is: in her district Democrats are 56% of the Democrat + Republican total. Right now, they're 60% of returns head to head. And in the 39th, Democrats are outperforming their registration by 4.3%, the highest disparity of any race I have info for. Democrats are turning out strongly; they lead by over 5 points relative to Republican turnout for Scott, which is fairly low at 30%. Minnis' turnout is even lower, at 29% so far. And in David Edwards' 30th, folks aren't yet buying what Ev Curry is selling, where turnout is under 29% for Republicans.

There's clearly a motivational gap in these numbers; in varying degrees across the board, Democrats are getting their ballots in at higher rates than Republicans--in some smaller areas, to the point where they are making up registration disadvantages and outperforming Republicans overall. Exploit that gap and go out this weekend trolling for votes. There may be gains at hand nobody would sensibly predict, that are attainable only if people go all out. So get involved.