FiveThirtyEight.com highlights SurveyUSA's breakout of early voters in five key states including Ohio. The result is an overall average 23 point lead for Obama within those states. In Ohio Obama leads 57-39% among people who have actually voted, versus 49-45% among likely future voters and 50-45% overall. In SUSA's Ohio poll, 12% reported having already voted, versus 88% of the sample identified as likelies.
A few notes.
- The big variables among polls are sampling and methodology for identifying likely voters. Obviously this result takes care of the second. As to the first, it should be noted that while the overall poll includes a statistically significant sample, we can be less sure that the sample of early voters is so.
- To the extent this means anything, it offers evidence of 1) the enthusiasm gap and 2) better organization in the Obama ground op.
- Since the early voting question takes care of likely voter identification, it's possible that the gap to some extent reflects a long-suspected theory that early voter panels are washing out newly mobilized (and registered) Obama supporters. Without knowing how SUSA does likely voter panels, it's impossible to take this further.
- One reason Obama supporters may be going early in disproportionate numbers is that folks with election day time issues -- especially students and hourly wage-earners -- have a strong incentive to take advantage. Meaning that (as suspected) early voting over time offers an advantage to Dems turning out their constituencies.