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Inside the early vote numbers: Early momentum

Welcome to the last week of the race.

We are in the close contest we’ve prepared carefully for over the past two years. It’s been a remarkably consistent, close, and competitive race, and when we look at the hard numbers that are already coming in President Obama is winning and has the momentum.

Early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election. Two polls in the last two days have us up in Virginia. Three more in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Florida show movement in our direction. And in states like Iowa and Nevada, we’re racking up early vote margins so large that, if it continues at this rate, Mitt Romney will have to beat us by a 20 percent margin on Election Day to win.

Romney, on the other hand, is not where he wanted to be eight days out: down everywhere he needs to be up. As a result, he’s stooping to desperate attacks, bluffing about momentum he doesn’t have, and releasing one of the most misleading, hypocritical, and indefensible ads we’ve ever seen in a presidential race.

Pollsters talk a lot about likely voters. We pay much more attention to actual voters—and the early vote numbers prove our grassroots ground game is outmatching Romney in every way.

Overall, we’re leading early vote in the battleground states, and we’re not taking a single one for granted. Here’s a sample of what we’re seeing in the key states:

  • In Ohio, the latest public poll shows us holding steady with a four-point lead, which reflects the strong support for the President we’re seeing in early voting—despite Romney’s last-minute efforts to mislead Ohioans. Voters from precincts the President won in 2008 have cast 53 percent of the ballots, while just 47 percent come from GOP precincts. That difference is 80 percent higher than it was at this time four years ago. You can tell a lot about how uneasy Romney’s campaign feels about where he stands in Ohio by his latest move: Romney personally approved an ad running in Toledo that everyone in America knows is flat-out false and reeks of desperation. It incorrectly claims that Chrysler is moving its Jeep production to China—a claim Chrysler itself debunked.

  • In the first two days of Florida’s in-person early voting, Democrats have completely erased the Republican advantage in absentee ballots, and now lead Republicans in votes with 1.9 million cast. In 2008, it took Democrats six days to erase the Republican’s historical vote-by-mail advantage; in 2012, according to the AP, it’s taken 48 hours.

  • In Nevada, Democrats lead Republicans by 10 points in ballots cast so far.

  • In Iowa, Democrats lead Republicans on every metric and with every group—ballots requested, ballots cast, in-person, mail, midterm voters and non-midterm voters.

  • In North Carolina, turnout is up 22 percent over 2008 levels, including among young voters and African Americans. Democrats lead Republicans by 270,000 ballots cast.

The Romney campaign, of course, wants you to think they’re expanding the map. They’re not—and we’re calling their bluff. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. In 2000, George W. Bush bluffed at the end that he was going to make a play for California, and Dick Cheney did the same in Hawaii in 2004. Now Romney is pretending he’s got a shot in states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Who knows which out-of-play state he’ll suggest he’s contesting next?

The Romney campaign believes the electorate still looks like it did in 2004. It doesn’t. American voters are more diverse than ever. More Latinos will vote this year than ever before—both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the electorate in battleground states—and the President will win the most Latino votes of any presidential candidate ever. Women continue to make up more than half of the electorate, and we’re leading among women by double digits nationally and in every battleground state, and for good reason.

In eight days, we’ll know all the numbers. But what we’re seeing so far is a clear lead and strong momentum for President Obama.

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