Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the surging early vote turnout in states like GA and NC is the fact that currently, according to Dr. Michael McDonald's excellent early voting stat compilation site, the #1 state in early voting turnout (as a percentage of total 2004 turnout) is Tennessee! At 50%, outpacing NC, NV and CO's 45% and GA's 42%, the Volunteer State is on top right now. Not bad for a non-competitive state, eh?
Is there any good turnout news for Obama in the TN numbers? A little. Don't worry I'm not going to argue that he's going to win here (I'm dumb, but I'm not Dick Morris dumb), but there are a few tidbits to pull out of the county-by-county stats. Follow me.
In 2004, Kerry won 18 of Tennessee's 95 counties. The turnout in those counties (mostly coming from Nashville and Memphis) amounted to 29.44% of the statewide early vote and 29.64% of the total vote in the presidential race (a 57-43 drubbing from Bush)
In 2006 (Ford v. Corker), those same 18 Kerry counties accounted for 30.79% of the early turnout and 28.8% of the total turnout (Corker won in a close one, 51.5-48.5)
So far after 12 days of early voting here, those 18 counties account for 32.28% of the vote, a modest increase to be sure, but an increase in the share of the statewide vote nonetheless. (A similar, though even smaller, increase can be seen in the share of the current early '08 vote taken by the 32 counties Harold Ford won in '06)
The larger point here is that Tennesseans love to vote early, assisted by our Democratic Governor and Secretary of State, who assure that plentiful voting locations are open (though trouble in the past in Shelby with that), and that early voting is officially actively encouraged here. It's no shock to see that already we have surpassed 50% of the total 2004 vote, since nearly 50% of that year's vote was done early.
Not counting today's totals, 34.22% of all active registered voters in Tennessee have already voted. In Davidson County (Nashville), 48.08% of all active registered voters have already voted.
Sorry for the boast-post! I'm not going to get to brag about our results...so I might as well talk up our turnout!
Counties won by Kerry: Benton, Clay, Davidson, Grundy, Hardeman, Haywood, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lake, Lauderdale, Overton, Perry, Shelby, Smith, Stewart, Trousdale, Van Buren.