Saturday was the third day of early voting (see yesterday’s post on the first two days). Nothing changed from the basic pattern of the first two days with the Republicans continuing to lead the Democrats narrowly in their rate of turnout–unlike in 2010.
The gap in the rate of turnout between the two major parties has declined from yesterday, though only from 0.06% to 0.03%. Statewide, 3.08% of registered Democrats have now voted compared to 3.11% of registered Republicans. Just 1.26% of unaffiliated voters have cast ballots.
The big three Democratic counties have not changed their rank in turnout relative to other counties. The best news for Democrats is that Howard County, home to Democratic Lt. Gov. Nominee Ken Ulman, jumped 1 place. But so did staunchly Republican Harford County.
I received some intelligent feedback regarding yesterday’s post that the Democrats could still be improving over 2010 despite the improved rates of Republican turnout. Since there are so many more Democrats than Republicans, the Democrats could gain in raw vote totals even if the gap in the rate of turnout declines so long as the number of early voters rises.
However, it is not at all clear to me by how much the total number of early voters will increase. While roughly 40,000 voters showed up each of the first two days, under 20,000 voted yesterday. So far, the share of early voters is 46% of the total from 2010. Republicans have turned out 50.5% of their 2010 early vote totals compared to 44.7% for the Democrats.
Changes in the share of registered voters will not greatly benefit either party. The share of registered Republicans has declined by 26.7% to 25.7%, and the share of registered Democrats has fallen from 56.4% to 55.0%. While the Democrats drop is greater in absolute terms, Republicans have lost a higher percentage of their voters.