On day two of early voting in Ohio, a day when President Barack Obama will deliver remarks at a fundraiser supper sponsored by the Ohio Democratic Party, Hillary for America [HFA] Campaign Manager Robby Mook provided reporters on a conference call Thursday with an upbeat update on voting trends in the battleground states with just 26 days left until votes for president are tabulated.
Mook walked reporters on the call through the latest trends from core battleground states, including Ohio, and among key constituencies of voters. HFA has focused extensively on voter registration since the summer and in person voting has already begun in states across the country like Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
With more than 40 percent of the electorate in key states likely to vote before November 8, Mook said the next few weeks will have nearly as much impact on the outcome of this election as Election Day itself.
In Ohio, where Mook’s family ties run deep, more than one million absentee ballot applications have been received. Yesterday was a huge first day of early voting, he said, confirming the signals of enthusiasm to vote for Hillary Clinton are strong, a topic some news groups have speculated show reluctance to vote for Mrs. Clinton. Mook said the hash tag #ohiovotesearly was trending nationally as mail requests in Ohio’s two Democratic strongholds—Cuyahoga and Franklin—made up 28 percent of ballot requests, compared to 22 percent of all votes cast in 2012. “Those are encouraging numbers,” he said.
Democrats got good news when a Baldwin Wallace poll showed Mrs. Clinton with a nine point lead over Trump. But that euphoria got chopped down Thursday when the race tightened overnight wen new numbers according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls released Thursday showed it’s in toss up territory again. In a four-way race in Ohio, Trump clings to a one-point lead over Clinton, 42 percent to 41 percent. Third party candidates Gary Johnson has nine percent, and Stein is at four percent.
He talked about the important victory in Florida this week that extends the time to register to vote due to the storm damage from Hurricane Matthew. Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn’t want to extend it but the court overruled him. Nonetheless, Mook said the campaign had already met its internal voter registration goals. That overall picture underscores the intensity in the campaign, he said, citing the strong turnout numbers look even better when compared to turnout in 2012 for core Democratic constituencies.
Mook said the campaign is well on the path to set records for both vote by mail [2.85 mail requests for ballots] compared to 2.1 million in 2012. Already, requests for absentee ballots are just 45,000 short of the number for the entire 2012 cycle. When Mrs. Clinton said “deal me in” on playing the woman’s card, it’s panning out in the Sunshine State where 22 percent of new registered voters are women compared to 19 percent for men. Meanwhile, voter turnout for Hispanics is particularly high, he said, so much so that it will break records, with so-called “drop off voters” in 2012 back to participating. So far, 200,000 ballots have been cast by mail, with African-Americans and Hispanics comprising 1 in 3 ballot requests.
In the State of North Carolina, which President Obama narrowly lost to Mitt Romney four years ago, vote my mail ballots are at 132,000 and rising, with proportionally three percent more African-Americans requesting absentee ballots. The jaw dropping number to Mook was that among Hispanics that number is 33 percent, an increase of 12 percent from 2012. For Asian-Americans, the number over 2013 is even higher, 45 percent. Bad news for Donald Trump, according to Mook, is that white voters decreased by 8 percent from four years ago. On a party basis, he said Democrats are up 8 percent while registered Republicans are down 27 percent.
Mook said the campaign’s confidence level is rising as the prediction comes true that more votes will be cast this election than ever before. “We’re seeing true indications of true enthusiasm,” he said, adding that the numbers are “indisputable.”
In the Hawkeye State, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, and Dems are beating the GOP is reclaiming drop-off voters. That’s a metric the campaign really tracks since it represents incremental growth in the voter base.
In person voting will start in Nevada very soon, which means it’s hard to draw any real conclusions just yet. What is clear, he said, is the Silver State has 100,000 more registered Democrats versus registered Republicans. With Hispanics representing a chunk of the electorate, Mook said voter registration among this voting block increased 24 percent compared to 2012 levels, while that same metric for Asian-Americans is 18 percent. “The numbers speak for themselves,” Mook said.
In Colorado, ballots have not yet been mailed, but Mook said registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans based on voter files.
“These numbers foreshadow the strong numbers in those states…and the data is reinforcing it,” Mook said before signing off on the call.