If you read the daily polls ... you're nuts. I avert my gaze, as soon as I know I'm about to see somebody's guess based on telephone calls to 400, 800, 1,200 randomly selected voters, whether they be "likely" voters, merely "registered" voters, or some other ad hoc group of goddamned voters. I don't believe those polls, and being altogether human, I'm charmed by the ones that make my side look good-to-go, and it's a terrible trap to begin to believe. Remember Clinton v. Trump, October 2016? So it's best to avert the gaze altogether.
But I do pay attention to Early Voting trends, especially partisan turnout percentages and comparisons to 2014. Generally speaking for 2018: Mid-term turnout is up over 2014 (but not up over 2016, a presidential year). Statewide, partisan edge goes to Democrats, with 43% of the Early Voting turnout through Oct. 30:
|Old North State Politics|
Locally in Watauga County, Republicans are doing even worse: out of 11,648 total votes, 37% D, 27% R, and 37% U.
Caution: We've learned through the history of Early Voting in NC that Republicans have always underutilized the option. They preferred to come out on election day, sometimes in waves that overwhelmed the Democrats ... like in 1994 and 2010. The Early Voting traffic at the Watauga rural satellite sites -- where most of the Republicans live -- has been historically and remains cold this year, like a corpse.
Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Dept. -- 7% of the total Early Vote
Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Dept. -- 5%
Western Watauga Community Center -- 9%
These Republican neighborhoods may be building some Republican surge. We can't tell. Sure doesn't look like it.
In Watauga, -- and across the state -- it's the Unaffiliated who hold the power. And maybe some well educated Republican women (as predicted by many and written up again this morning in the NYTimes).
Here's the $1.98 question: Are the Republican candidates getting out new or otherwise infrequent Republican voters? Have they expanded their base? Is immigrant-fear sufficient drug for educated Republican women (and some educated men)?
Will the Republicans come flooding out next Tuesday, by their thousands and tens of thousands, to overwhelm the little blue ripple of Democratic pushback in North Carolina? We've seen it happen before, like in 1994 and 2010. How is this year feeling? I'll take your intuition over the polls.