Raleigh, N.C. — Among the trends we've been seeing throughout early voting is Democrats turning out in bigger numbers than Republicans. Figures available from the North Carolina State Board of Elections through Monday show 1.7 million early voters, who break down this way:
- Democrats: 835,773
- Libertarians: 3,241
- Republican: 531,134
- Unaffiliated: 329,992
That trend is reflected somewhat in the latest WRAL-Survey USA poll, which gives Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney an overall lead in the state but suggests President Barack Obama is leading among early voters. Obama holds a 56-43 percent lead among those who have already voted early. The polls cross-tabs suggest that the remainder of those who plan to vote early will be more evenly split and those who vote on Election Day will heavily favor Romney.
"Early voters in North Carolina favor Barack Obama, who has a lead "banked" heading into the final week of campaigning, according to a Survey USA poll conducted exclusively for WRAL-TV in Raleigh. But: Election-Day voters will go for Mitt Romney in sufficient numbers that it appears Romney will outperform Obama, 50% to 45%, when all votes are counted. Obama leads among those who have already voted, by mail or in person, but among voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Romney leads 2:1," says our pollster's memo.
One thing that raised my eyebrows about our poll this morning: other recent polls by Elon University, Public Policy Polling and Civitas put North Carolina in a dead heat with Obama and Romney actually or virtually tied. Our poll was conducted over roughly the same time period, so it's unclear why Romney has the advantage, although it is consistent with a recent Rasmussen result. It will be worth watching to see if any other polls published this week put Romney ahead or fall into the statistically tied camp.