OR: Early advantages

The early indications of a Democratic blowout in Oregon on Tuesday are there in ballot numbers that have been released so far. Not votes, of course: Those won’t be out until Tuesday night. But we do know now how the early voting is going for the two parties according to returns by registrants of each party. And those numbers are clear.

One comparison already pretty widely noted is that registered Democrats – of whom there are about 220,000 more in Oregon than Republicans – have been turning in their ballots at a faster clip than registered Republicans, 49% to 41%. (If the rates were even, that would still be a big Democratic advantage, given their higher registration numbers.)

Not only that, the Democrats have outpaced Republicans in ballot returns so far in all of Oregon’s 36 counties.

ballot return advantage But in looking at the Thursday afternoon ballot numbers (helpfully posted on Jeff Mapes’ Oregonian blog) you can also work out how some of the voting may go, to the extent that registration matches up with voting patterns, based on the raw numbers of ballots submitted. That’s not (as TorridJoe notes in his Loaded Lrygun post on the returns) the same as rate of returns, since counties have varying portions of registered Ds and Rs. (The map shows which counties have generated so far more Democratic than Republican ballots in raw numbers.)

A cautionary note: There are ancestral party registrations, people who have been registered with one party or other for a long time but have in practice migrated over to the other. And you also have to factor in the nonaligneds, and independents (who between them have leaned Democratic in the last few cycles).

Still.

You have here places like Clackamas County, the third largest in Oregon (Portland suburban) which broke narrowly for George Bush in 2004; as of Thurday it has returned about 45,000 Democratic ballots to 32,000 Republican. Deschutes County (Bend), very strongly Republican for – well, always – so far has returned more Democratic ballots than Republican, 16,648 to 15,660. Yamhill County, traditionally Republican, is running 8,320 Democratic ballots to 7,163. Polk County (Dallas), even more Republican traditionally, is at 7,716 Democratic to 6,753 Republican. Jackson County (Medford/Ashland), the anchor of southwest Oregon and long a Republican stalwart, is at 23,142 Democratic to 19,745 Republican – in a county with a 2300 or so Republican registration advantage. Marion County, Republican for ages (until a registration flip a few months ago), is at 27,850 Democratic to 22,842 Republican, in a county where the Democratic advantage still is only slight.

You can imagine what the Democratic counties look like – running near 4-1 in Democratic ballots in Multnomah (Portland), nearly 2-1 in Hood River, about the same in Clatsop, and more than 2-1 in Benton.

Some of this, of course, may be reflective of enthusiasm and better Democratic efforts to get out early votes. But is there any reason to think the trend is just going to hit a wall in the next three days?

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