Michael McDonald has been tracking no-excuse ballot returns in a number of states. I have been able to obtain the partisan ballot return rates in Franklin County, OH. These results, while very early in the voting process, confirm some of the patterns Michael has found in Iowa. They also mirror a pattern in Cuyahoga County, OH – unaffiliated voters are returning ballots at a significantly lower rate. I don’t know if this pattern appears in Iowa (Michael?) but it does reflect our prior expectations about unaffiliated voters.
I am more skeptical than Michael about whether we can conclude from these data anything about the so-called “enthusiasm gap.” Very early voters tend to be very committed voters, and it is quite possible that, once the first wave of ballots are in, that there will be a second wave of moderately committed Republican voters that will overwhelm the current Democratic advantage. I also would not want to conclude anything nationally from data in just two states.
Nonetheless, I’ll retract my previous criticism of Mike – there are enough states and enough ballots that I agree, these are “intriguing.”
Crossposted at http://electionupdates.caltech.edu