Romney's early voter campaign paying off - Obama lead slipping in Florida, N. Carolina http://on.flatoday.com/Tefolr
11:57 AM - 9 Oct 12 · Details
President Barack Obama is greeted by a boy in the crowd after arriving at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on Monday. / Eric Risberg/AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands during a campaign rally on Monday in Newport News, Va. / Evan Vucci/AP
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s campaign is working hard to chip away at President Barack Obama’s advantage among early voters, and there are signs the effort is paying off in Florida and North Carolina, two competitive states that the Republican nominee can ill afford to lose. Obama is doing better in Iowa, another battleground state important to both candidates.
Obama dominated early voting in key states four years ago, giving him a big advantage over Republican John McCain before Election Day even arrived. In Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina, Obama built up such big leads among early voters that he won each state despite losing the Election Day vote, according to voting compiled by The Associated Press.
Romney’s campaign won’t predict victory among early voters this year. But a top campaign official is adamant that Romney will not let Obama build insurmountable leads among early voters in key states.
“They’re not going to run up the same margins as they did four years ago,” said Rich Beeson, political director for the Romney campaign. “It just isn’t going to happen.”
Early voting for the presidential election has started in more than 30 states — much of it by mail, though some in person — and some important numbers are starting to dribble in. No votes will be counted until Nov. 6. However, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa report the party affiliation of people who have cast ballots. Other states will follow.
Among the 29,400 voters who have cast absentee ballots in North Carolina, 54 percent are registered Republicans and 28 percent are Democrats, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University.
It’s a small sample — more than 2.6 million people voted before Election Day in North Carolina in 2008. And these are all mail ballots, which have historically favored Republicans; in-person voting starts Oct. 18 in North Carolina. Nevertheless, Republicans are encouraged because McCain lost the state’s early vote by 11 percentage points.