The current tally of votes in North Carolina and Florida -- two swing states that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump needs to win -- indicate the GOP candidate is performing better than former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is not doing as well as President Barack Obama did in 2012.
In North Carolina, 305,000 fewer Republicans have voted early. GOP analysts remain unworried; Republican voters turned out less in the early vote compared to Democrats by 447,000 in 2012, however, Republican voters tend to vote on Election Day rather than vote early, the Daily Mail reports.
In Florida, Democrats lead the count by about 33,000 votes. Yet, with 6.1 million early votes cast, this is a lead that amounts to only 0.5 percentage points of the total early vote in the state. In 2012, Democrats held a 3.7 point edge in early voting, which enabled Obama to declare victory there that year.
Clinton had been leading Trump consistently in the polls through October but is now just a hair above the GOP contender in Florida and North Carolina.
A new Quinnipiac poll of likely voters conducted just before Nov. 8 granted Clinton a 1-point lead in Florida and a 2-point lead in North Carolina, Politico reports.
According to CNN, early voter demographics in North Carolina benefit Trump as fewer black voters and millennials, which tend to vote Democratic, come out to vote for his opponent.
The early vote registered through Nov. 5 in North Carolina saw a decrease in black turnout by 8.7 percent or 66,000 votes, NBC News reports. In the meantime, the independent vote has gained traction in the state, as well as in Florida.
This makes it more difficult for analysts to judge the election outcome in both states as voter party affiliation with the two traditional dominant parties tends to drive prediction models. Moreover, surveys of independent party voters have been especially contradictory in Florida, further complicating election predictions of the swing state.
In Florida, independent voters comprise 21 percent of the vote with Democrats and Republicans accounting for a near 39 percent each.
Another factor skewing prediction models for the Sunshine State is the fact that an incredible one-in-four early voters are first-time voters. Many of these are Hispanics.
According to University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith, through Nov. 5, 545,000 Latino voters had voted early in Florida -- a 100 percent increase from 2012, as reported by the Miami Herald.
Further taking into account absentee ballots, 911,000 Hispanics voted in the panhandle state -- a third of whom did not cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election.