Last week TargetSmart launched TargetEarly, a one-stop interactive dashboard of early vote data for 42 states. So far in 2018, over 22 million people have already voted with 6 days until election day. By comparison in the 2014 midterms, just over 83 million people voted in total. While early vote has consistently increased over the last decade, early indications are that we’re seeing more than an incremental increase in voter participation this cycle.
An analysis of TargetEarly’s data finds that with one week until the 2018 midterm elections, the surge in early vote among nearly all demographics — especially among young people and people of color — compared to the 2014 midterm elections reveals the intensity and enthusiasm surrounding this election and underscores how traditionally Republican-leaning states are emerging as new battlegrounds.
As we assess these numbers, it’s important to note that the early vote data gives us a sense of relative intensity among various voting blocs, but doesn’t reveal how these groups are voting. The early vote data cited below represents the most recent data currently available. Please refer back to TargetEarly regularly for the most current data.
Strength in Traditional Battleground States
Traditional battleground states have seen significant increases in early vote rates, especially among younger and non-white voters. In Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Nevada, voters aged 18–29 have all at least doubled their early vote turnout compared to 2014, with young voters increasing their early vote rate by 364% in Nevada and 411% in Pennsylvania. African-American early vote turnout is up 327% in Nevada and 203% in Pennsylvania. In several states, the surge in turnout among Hispanic voters outpaces that of all other voters, including in Arizona, where Hispanic turnout increased by 81%.
Meaningful Surges in Emerging Battleground States
Traditionally Republican-leaning states, including Georgia and Texas, have drawn significant attention this year with the potential to produce some of the biggest surprises of the 2018 cycle; accordingly, early vote rates have significantly increased compared to 2014, potentially shaping the states’ futures as new battlegrounds.
In both states, young voters aged 18–29 have increased their early vote rate by nearly five times or more. African-American early vote rates have more than double compared to 2014, and Hispanic turnout has surged massively in both states.
Note on Methodology: Data included in this analysis are a snapshot in time. For the most accurate count of early vote numbers, visit TargetEarly. Modeled Party is based on a proprietary partisanship classification model to determine the likely political affiliation of a voter. This predictive model is trained using survey data and incorporates various data points such as vote history, party affiliation (where available), consumer interests, and demographic information to make a prediction of how likely a person is to align with the Democratic party. Those marked as Modeled Unclear did not fall into a score range where we could make a confident prediction of affiliation. Please do not mistake TargetSmart’s prediction of party alignment with election outcome predictions.