Democrats appear to be outpacing their 2012 early vote performance in several critical swing states, giving Hillary Clinton a head start on Donald Trump in some of the most important presidential battlegrounds.
In two must-win states for Trump, North Carolina and Florida, Republicans are clinging to narrow leads in the total number of mail-in ballots requested. Yet in both states, Clinton is ahead of President Barack Obama’s pace four years earlier — and the GOP trails Mitt Romney’s clip.
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Any diminishment of the GOP’s mail-in ballot lead is a matter of concern for Republicans because Democrats typically dominate early in-person voting in both states, which will begin over the next 10 days.
“Democrats have narrowed already the advantage that the Republicans had in 2012,” said Michael McDonald, whose United States Election Project offers detailed analysis of early and absentee voting patterns.
Trump has little chance of capturing the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the Electoral College without winning North Carolina and Florida. Both states were decided by less than 100,000 votes in 2012.