Up to 40 percent of registered voters could participate in early voting for the 2012 presidential election and polls of those early voters show that President Barack Obama has a comfortable lead over his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Polls of people who have already cast their ballots show that Obama has a lead in most states. The Obama campaign also benefited from early voting in the 2008 election. They have since focused heavily on urging their supporters to vote early in 2012.
Obama currently leads Romney 54 percent to 39 percent in early voting , according to a poll by Reuters/Ipsos, whose data has been compiled in recent weeks. The sample size for these early voters is 960 people and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percent, notes Yahoo! News.
Eighteen percent of registered voters have case their ballots already, according to the poll. About one-fourth of minority voters and one-fifth of white voters have cast ballots.
One resident, Allison Gilmore, voted during her lunch break in Arlington, Virginia. Like many who take advantage of early voting, Gilmore wasn’t sure she would make it to the polls on Election Day. She stated:
“I don’t know now busy I’ll be at work, [with] childcare — and I want to make sure I get my vote in.”
Another voter, Myrney Levey of Cleveland, Ohio, cited convenience after mailing in her absentee ballot. Levey, 74, stated:
“It’s more convenient. They moved our voting place several blocks away and it is no longer in walking distance.”
Early voting began as early as September in some states and is now underway in almost all 50 states, either through absentee mail-in ballots or in-person voting. Political scientists specializing in early voting in elections are predicting that between 35 and 40 percent of US voters will cast their ballots early this year.
If the statistic proves true, it would be a record. Michael McDonald, a political science professor at George Mason University in Virginia, stated:
“In some of the battleground states, rates are even above that. There’s a lot of activity out there with both the Romney and the Obama campaigns organizing and mobilizing their supporters to vote early.”
Experts believe that one reason for the record early voting turnout is because Republicans, unlike in 2008, are putting more emphasis on early voting.