posted at 1:01 pm on November 8, 2016 by John Sexton
This year CNN has partnered with a progressive data mining firm called Catalist in order to get access to some early information about voting results. Today, CNN reports the GOP appears to have benefited from a late surge of votes and, as of Monday, has taken a very narrow lead over Democrats. However, there is a catch:
Colorado is conducting its election almost entirely by mail this year, for the first time in a presidential cycle. Ballots were mailed out to all registered voters starting October 17, and more than 1.8 million Coloradans have already cast their votes by mailing in their ballots or dropping it off at a polling center.
On the eve of the national election, 652,380 Republicans and 645,020 Democrats have cast ballots, according to the Colorado secretary of state. That’s a razor-thin Republican lead of 7,360 votes, which is much smaller than the roughly 31,000-ballot edge Republicans had at this point in 2012. So even though Republicans can celebrate taking the lead Monday, they are still underperforming compared to 2012.
So the trend has been toward the GOP, but in 2012 there was a surge of last-minute votes from younger people who voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. Of course this is not 2012 and Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama. Her inability to fire up millennials has been a source of heartburn for progressives for most of the year. However, last month there were some indications that Clinton was finally picking up support from young voters. From Time magazine:
After months of reaching out to younger voters with little success, it appears Clinton has finally turned a corner. Interviews with dozens of young people across competitive states reflect a growing enthusiasm for Clinton among a key Democratic demographic. Polls also show her support in the last month among voters aged 18-to-34 has ticked up significantly just weeks before Election Day.
If young people come out to vote for Hillary at the last moment as they did for Obama in 2012 then the narrow edge the GOP is holding at the moment will get swamped. CNN notes that, “voters over 65 years old are 28% of the electorate that has already voted, even though they were only 16% of the final electorate in 2012.” So it looks like there are still a lot of younger, Democratic-leaning people in Colorado who still hadn’t cast their ballots as of yesterday.