Since we reviewed the ballot returns a week ago, they have nearly doubled – skyrocketing from 882,000 to over 1.5 million returns. That means we have now achieved over 62% of the anticipated turnout. There are likely another 900,000 to 1 million people left to vote. Now that we have another week under our belt, let’s take a look at the latest trends:
1. Republicans roar back.
Last week, we observed that Republicans were underperforming by 2 to 3% points. After a solid week of returns and a concentrated turnout effort, the GOP now represents slightly over 40% of the vote. That’s a solid gain – particularly in several of the more conservative areas. If the trend holds, they will return to their normal participation levels, but at the moment, they are still underperforming in a few areas.
2. Democrats are going strong in CD2 and CD9.
In CD2 (Southern Arizona/Tucson), turnout is up slightly compared to other areas and Democrats are holding a more than 8,000 return lead over Republicans. Typically, Republicans outperform Dems in this race by about 3 points. Right now, Democrats are outperforming Republicans by 4 points – a shift of 7 points. In CD9 (Tempe/Phoenix/Chandler/Scottsdale/Mesa), we see a similar story, but for different reasons. Turnout in CD9 is down over its typical performance and part of the reason may be a swath of Republicans who haven’t show up yet. GOP usually outperforms Dems in this race by 5 points, but they are currently behind by 4 – a net shift of 9 points.
3. Swing districts earn their name.
Last week, we talked about lower than usual turnout in a couple of the swing districts – particularly LD8 and LD28. In LD8 (Pinal/Gila County area), Republicans have erased a 6 percentage point Democratic participation advantage to even things up in the home stretch. That is much closer to typical turnout. In LD28 (Phoenix/Arcadia/Paradise Valley), Republicans are now at 41% of the returns and marching closer to their typical turnout. They have widened the gap from 4 points last week to 7 points this week.
4. Focus on LD18.
In LD18 (Chandler/Ahwatukee), Republicans went from a 700 vote disadvantage to a nearly 1600 vote advantage, a swing of 2300 votes. It was a solid gain for Republicans over the week, but they still have a ways to go. The typical participation advantage for Republicans in LD18 is 9 points; currently the advantage is only 2.
5. Will Independents surge late or stay home?
Democrats continue to exceed expectations, but it is no longer at the expense of Republicans. Instead, we are seeing slightly lower than usual turnout among Independent and unaffiliated voters. There are a few explanations that might fit: perhaps it is because they tend to vote later or maybe it is that no one has a concentrated turnout drive just focused on independents. With nearly a million more people left likely to vote, the election is still far from over.