North Carolina is expected to be one of the closest states in the presidential election, and early voting results could give an indication of whether voters will choose Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.
A number of counties, including Mecklenburg, plan to post early voting results soon after polls close at 7:30 p.m.
The Observer will compare this year’s results with the early voting results from the 2012 election in North Carolina, won by Republican Mitt Romney.
Romney beat President Barack Obama in North Carolina four years ago by a little more than 2 percentage points – 50.6 percent to 48.4 percent. The difference was about 100,000 votes.
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▪ After early voting in 2012 in Mecklenburg, Obama had 173,319 votes. Romney had 98,290. That was a lead for the Democrat of about 75,000 votes.
Early voting for Mecklenburg in 2016 was 201,285 votes for Clinton and 93,719 votes for Trump. Clinton has a 107,566 lead based on early voting.
▪ After early voting in 2012 in Raleigh’s Wake County, Obama had 168,633 votes. Romney had 113,465 votes. That was a lead for the Democrat of about 55,000 votes.
Early voting for Wake in 2016 was 203,921 for Clinton and 108,560 for Trump. Clinton has an early vote lead of 95,361 in early voting in Wake.
▪ In Guilford County (Greensboro) in 2012, Obama led with 103,052 early votes compared with 68,377 early votes for Romney. That was a lead of 34,675 early votes.
Clinton has 102,370 early votes there and Trump has 59,637. That’s an early vote lead of 42,733 for Clinton.
In Watauga County, Obama led after early voting in 2012 with 1,178 votes. Clinton is ahead there after early voting by 2,635 votes.
In New Hanover County, Romney had a lead of 1,413 votes after early voting. Clinton is ahead by 177 votes after early voting.
Overall in North Carolina, more than 3 million people voted early in 2016.
Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College, has analyzed the early vote on his blog.
Among early voters, registered Democrats were down 1.5 percent compared with 2013; registered Republicans were up 13.4 compared with 2012; and unaffiliated voters had cast 41.2 percent more early votes compared to four years ago.