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Democrats Lead Republicans in N.C. Early Voting

Democrats Lead Republicans in N.C. Early Voting

By David Byler - October 30, 2014

Democrats lead Republicans, 48.1 percent-31.6 percent, in North Carolina early voting and absentee ballots returned as of Thursday morning, according to the state Board of Elections.

These results are potentially promising for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. In a tight race for re-election against Republican Thom Tillis, she currently holds a narrow lead, 43.6 percent-42.6 percent, according to the RCP polling average. (RCP also puts Libertarian Sean Haugh at 5 percent, but only 0.2 percent of the early votes and absentee ballots were cast by registered members of that party.)

The early vote tally does not necessarily reflect Hagan’s chances on Nov. 4. In 2012, 2.7 million North Carolinians cast their ballots before Election Day, with Democratic ballots leading Republican ballots by 16 percentage points. Despite this advantage, Mitt Romney won the state, 50.4 percent-48.4 percent.

A total of 731,252 North Carolinians have voted so far -- 11 percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters. Despite a shortened early-voting period, more ballots have been cast ahead of Election Day this year than was the case at the same point in the 2010 cycle. With less than three days remaining before the end of in-person early voting, a total of 689,682 North Carolinians have voted in person -- a 15 percent increase from the total at the same point in time four years ago. The increase comes primarily from Democrats and Independents, who have cast ballots in greater numbers in this cycle than they did in 2010.

Early in-person voting will continue through Saturday and absentee ballots will be counted if they are returned by Election Day.

David Byler is an elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at dbyler@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidbylerRCP.

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