Demographic breakdowns of North Carolina early voting

Following my earlier post about high early voting rates in North Carolina, we’ve had a little longer to play with the extensive live data provided by its State Board of Elections. There are some notable patterns in demography.

Traditionally, academics have found evidence that early voters tend to be white, well-educated, and wealthier than the average voter.Paul Gronke and Daniel Toffey. 2008. “The Psychological and Institutional Determinants of Early Voting.” Journal of Social Issues 64.3: 503-524. There’s also a tendency for them to vote Republican (President Bush won 60% of the nationwide early vote in 2004).

However, as the graphs below show, African-Americans are currently voting early at almost half the rate of whites. This large percentage not only belies the conventional wisdom about who votes early, but is also well out of proportion to the population of black citizens in North Carolina. African-Americans only account for around 20% of registered voters in the state.

The obvious follow-up question: who are these African-Americans voting for? Well, you probably know the answer, and the high rates of Democratic turnout should be a clue, but here’s the breakdown of these voters’ registered party affiliations. Striking.

The First Week: NC’s “Onestop” Early Voters
Race Democrat Republican Unaffiliated
White 196,170 152,515 86,334
Black/African-American 194.743 2,897 16,518
Other 13,933 3,137 8,528
Data captured on 10/24, at 01:30 PST

The breakdowns by age are more in line with expectations, and there don’t appear to be strong differences between Republicans and Democrats. The Republican peak is clearly a little older (in the 60s), although overall the mean age of Democratic voters is only slightly (1.5 years) lower. Note the little spike at the young end for both parties though!