► How to explain this record?
More than 91 million Americans did not wait until November 3 to make their voices heard. They took advantage of a set of measures to vote by mail or in person, before the official polling day.
The strong use of these devices, often proposed in 2016 but considerably relaxed and extended in these times of pandemic, was expected. What was less was the scale of their success. Because these 91 million voters represent two-thirds of Americans who voted in the 2016 presidential election, regardless of the modalities. And in several states, participation is already approaching, before D-Day, that of the Trump-Clinton duel.
The champion is Texas, where nearly 10 million people have exercised their civic duty in anticipation, while Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had shared less than 9 million votes there four years ago. This year, Texas, Republican land, is an issue, Joe Biden can hope to compete with the current president, unlike Hillary Clinton.
In North Carolina or Georgia, other states at stake, participation already exceeds 91% of that of 2016. In Tennessee, yet promised to the outgoing president, it is 89%. ” The motivations of voters this year are anger and fear, analysis Ray La Raja, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. These motivations generally translate into a strong mobilization. This year could set a record “.
► What lessons can be drawn from this enthusiasm?
A commonly accepted rule of American politics is that a high turnout is favorable to Democrats. On the one hand, because the Republicans are, in general, more disciplined and do not miss electoral appointments – which is less the case with Democrats. A lower than usual abstention would therefore be linked above all to a mobilization of Joe Biden’s party.
On the other hand, Democrats are encouraged to favor early voting. The sociology of this vote (minorities, lower income, etc.) makes these voters more vulnerable to impediments on D-Day (sick child, overtime, etc.). According to the electproject.org site, run by a professor from Florida, 46% of those who have already voted are registered as Democrats, 30% as Republican, and 24% as independent.
But these data, provided by the twenty or so states detailing the affiliation of Americans when they register on the electoral roll (in order to be able to participate in their party’s primaries), are partial. Moreover, they do not of course provide any indication as to the color of the ballot.
► Are the first data available all favorable to Democrats?
No. For example, some officials of Joe Biden’s party in Florida are alarmed to see little turnout in Miami County from African-American voters and Hispanics registered as Democrats. However, this county is a reservoir of Democratic votes, Joe Biden must fill it up if he wants to overturn this strategic state, won by Donald Trump in 2016 and essential to the outgoing president in 2020.
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Moreover, it is also accepted that Republicans prefer to vote on polling day. The current advantage of the Democrats is therefore not representative of what will be the electoral balance of power on the evening of November 3.
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