A liberal commenter, known for being wrong a lot, retorted that once people started voting early in person, that that gap was going to open back up to 2008 levels. His rationale was that Republicans had the edge in early voting by mail, where as Democrats held the edge in voting in person.
That theory is proven wrong in two ways. First, if you look at Cuyahoga County, the largest in the state, you will see that fully 75% of the early vote in 2008 was by mail. Since the early vote deficit there was a staggering 37 points in 2008, the notion that Republicans win the mail-in vote is preposterous, and apparently was just another lie pulled out of the air in a lame attempt to form some sort of a comeback to the bad news we reported.
Second, we are three weeks into the in-person early vote process, and the 7-point gap we reported on earlier has not changed. Check out these outstanding stats via CNN:
But Republicans have polished their early vote operation since 2008.That's huge, folks. The advantage that Obama and down-ticket Democrats had in the early vote in 2008 in Ohio has almost been completely erased. And knowing how absolutely crucial Ohio is in the electoral college race, it's no wonder that national attention is being paid to this data.
Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22% - a dismal 20-point deficit that contributed to Sen. John McCain's defeat in Ohio.
Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29%.
Republicans are outperforming their voter registration in several of the state's biggest counties.
In Cuyahoga, Republicans only make up about 12% of registered voters. Ballot numbers through Tuesday of this week, however, signal that almost 22% of early voters in Cuyahoga are Republican.
One other thing to think about here. If Ohio puts Mitt Romney over the top, there will be someone else for every Republican in America to thank for the victory, and that's Governor John Kasich. The early voting numbers are solid proof that the new team over at the Ohio Republican Party has turned things around. Kasich was right that the ORP needed new leadership, and the incredibly improved GOP ground game is evidence that that new leadership is paying off.