Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, sent out this political note Saturday from the "Romney/Ryan rally bus." Key bit:
When I looked yesterday, so far there are over 357,000 absentee votes cast. That's barely over 70% of the 2008 total. That's bad for them.Happily, it gets worse... for them.
Full note from Cuccinelli after the jump. Above, the line for in-person absentee voting yesterday in McClean, Virginia, sent by Dave Fullerton. ("There were young people, people on crutches, old people, all of whom stood in line for almost 2 hours in the cold to vote!") (How to send us stuff.)
From Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli:
Subject: Here's Why I'm Optimistic
Date: Nov 3, 2012 5:44 PM
Dear Friends and Fellow Virginians, I'm writing to you from the Romney/Ryan rally bus, in between rallies in Lexington and Christiansburg!
As many of you know, among other things, I am both a grassroots believer and something of a numbers geek. So, last night, after decent voter contact hours had passed, I started analyzing our absentee voter numbers - looking for clues as to the direction of Virginia.
We don't have no-excuse early voting in Virginia, but about 1/7 or 1/8 of the total vote can reasonably be expected to be cast via absentee voting.
So where do we stand so far and what does it mean?
In 2008, over 506,000 absentee votes were cast. We lost absentees terribly - 64/36. Ouch. That was about a 150,000 vote margin. Super ouch.
Realize that Democrats achieved this kind of margin while beating us overall by only about 53/47. As is common, they did far better in absentee voting than their overall margin.
We lost Virginia by 235,000 votes in 2008, so the absentee margin was over half of Obama's total margin of victory in 2008.
So, how does this compare to 2012?
When I looked yesterday, so far there are over 357,000 absentee votes cast. That's barely over 70% of the 2008 total. That's bad for them.
Happily, it gets worse... for them.
We don't register by party, so we need to use proxies to see what's happening.
So, let's look at it this way. We'll break down all 134 localities into four groups: 1) those that went for Bush in 2004 & McCain in 2008; 2) those that went for Bush in 2004 & Obama in 2008; 3) those that went for Kerry in 2004 & Obama in 2008; and 4) those that went for Kerry in 2004 & McCain in 2008 (there are only two of these, see below).
I ranked all 134 localities in Virginia from those that are producing the highest proportion of absentee votes compared to their 2008 performance (Buchanan County, 103%), to the lowest proportion (Portsmouth City, 34%).
So, to be clear, in Buchanan County in 2008 there were 672 absentee votes cast; and as of late this week, 694 had been cast - 13% of the 2008 numbers. In Portsmouth City in 2008 there were 7,513 absentee votes cast; and for this year so far? 2,536 - only 34% of their 2008 numbers.
Of the top 10 absentee voter turnout localities this year, 9 are Bush/McCain localities. 22 of the top 25 are Bush/McCain. 41 of the top 50 are Bush/McCain. And 71 of the top 100 are Bush/McCain. Yowza! Looking good!
There were two Kerry/McCain localities - the neighboring coal counties of Buchanan and Dickenson. At 103%, Buchanan has the highest proportion of absentee turnout relative to 2008, and Dickenson ranks 47th with 82% of its 2008 turnout - 12% above the state average.
These were yellow dog Democrat counties in Presidential elections for as far back as I remember, but Barack Obama managed to convince them - barely - to vote Republican in 2008. 4 years of experience will only strengthen the trend, and so they reasonably should be looked at like the Bush/McCain localities.
If you count them that way, then the rankings of how we're doing changes to show us doing relatively better since 2008 in all 10 of the top 10 absentee voting localities, 23 of the top 25, 43 of the top 50, and 73 of the top 100. That's a very strong showing in our favor.
So, what does this mean in raw votes?
If we simply take the 64/36 split from 2008 and apply it to this year's absentee votes, our math looks like this:
64% of 357,000 votes cast so far equals about 229,000 votes. 36% is approximately 128,000 votes. That's a 101,000 vote margin in their favor; however, That's almost 50,000 less votes than their 2008 margin among absentees.
So, even if the Democrats keep the same percentage of votes among absentees, the turnout change alone has already cut more than 1/5 of the total vote gap from 2008.
But the changes from 2008 suggest we're going to move significantly away from their nearly 64/36 win of absentees.
The absentee turnout among Kerry 2004 localities this year is only 65% of the 2008 levels - and these are the strongest Dem localities! The absentee turnout among localities Obama won in 2008 is 68%.
On our side, the absentee turnout among Bush 2004 localities is 75%. And the absentee turnout among McCain localities is 76% - these are our strongest localities.
This means that the 64/36 margin among absentee voters from 2008 is going to get much closer. Let's say it's 55/45 their way this year instead of 64/36 - a reasonable estimation at this point - then the math looks like this:
55% of 357,000 votes cast so far equals 188,000 votes. 45% is approximately 169,000 votes. That's a mere 19,000 vote margin - 130,000 fewer than in 2008 among absentees!
So, just with our current effort, we have already closed half of the gap from 2008!
Great job to all of you that have put in your time, money and effort to make this happen!
I hope this is as encouraging to you as it is to me! Now, if we just finish this race out with the same level of effort that we've had for months, we will win Virginia, BUT, note the caveat ... "with the same level of effort..."
Let's finish strong so Virginia can lead America's turnaround by electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and returning George Allen to the U.S. Senate!
I will see you on the campaign trail! Sincerely, Ken Cuccinelli, II Attorney General of Virginia