Tennessee Leads the Nation
No, not in kidney stones, though we are pretty high. According to this site tallying the early/absentee vote across the country, Tennessee is #1 so far in early voting turnout as a percentage of the total turnout in 2004. At just over 1 million through Monday, early and absentee votes number 45% of the 2.4 million total votes cast in 2004, that just beats out the 44% put up by Colorado. Not bad for a state that is not expected to be competitive.
Does this point to a huge boost in turnout this year here in the Volunteer State? Not necessarily. The early vote was nearly 50% of the turnout 4 years ago too. By the time the early vote ends after Thursday, we should be past that for sure. But, it remains to be seen whether Nov. 4 turnout will also exceed expectations, or if everyone is just voting early. My point is: a 50+% early vote turnout here is not as notable as it would seem to be in, say, GA, which lags behind TN but is far exceeding its early vote share from 2004.
Is there any good news for Obama in the TN turnout? A little. in 2004, John Kerry won 18 of TN's 95 counties in getting drubbed 57-43 by Bush. Those 18 counties (mostly Nashville and Memphis) made up 29% of the statewide turnout total back then. In the early vote so far this year, those same 18 - which should go for Obama - account for 32% of the statewide total. An increase in the share, modest as it may be...