TN Early Vote + New Registration Analysis
Tennessee early voting turnout totals by county have been released through the first 7 days. Taking each county's present totals and multiplying by its Bush-Gore percentages from 2000, I can project an estimate about the state of the vote thus far, based solely on turnout by county (of course by precinct would be far more accurate, but I don't have that info).
The early vote projection based on county turnout and the 2000 vote comes out to:
This is slightly closer than the 52.2-46.2 that the first 4 days showed. Shelby County (Memphis) is picking up steam, and that should continue to narrow the gap. However, Shelby, still accounts for only 10.1% of the early vote, though it was 23% of the early vote in 2000, and just over 16% of the total 2000 vote.
Knox County has dropped back slightly, but at 9.5% of the vote, that heavily Republican county is causing the most problems. Davidson County remains just over 11%, slightly more than the 10% from 2000. This indicates to me that the turnout is up all over the state, and as Shelby approaches its level from 2000, I expect the result projection to also approach the 3% difference from Bush-Gore.
We can only hope that the increased turnout everywhere is due to a desire to throw the bum out, not an unreasonable theory.
But even new voter registration indicate this outcome. New registrations this year have been fairly evenly spread across the state, not remarkably in Democratic counties. Multiplying new voter registration by county by the 2000 results gives a similar result, 52.3-47%.
I was hoping the new registrations and early voting would be especially concentrated in Davidson and Shelby and other Democratic/Gore counties, but it's not the case. We still don't know who is voting/registering, or their motivations, but if Kerry is to show well in TN, he will have to be closing the Gore gap across many counties, including Republican ones (the same way Bredesen won). Turnout alone in traditionally Democratic areas will not get it done.