Politico is reporting that trends in early voting show enormous GOP enthusiasm as expected, but also that the "enthusiasm gap" may be overblown:
POLITICO surveyed early voting through Saturday in 20 states, and in 14 of the 15 that have voter registration by party, the GOP's early turnout percentage is running ahead of the party's share of statewide voter registration - whether measured against 2006 or 2008, when President Barack Obama's campaign led to a surge in Democratic voter registration. As a result, Republicans say they're turning the tables on the Democratic dominance of early voting that paved the way for Obama's victory in 2008 - and that independents' lean toward the GOP this year will do the rest.
In Florida, in addition to having a lead in absentee ballots, "incredibly, we are also leading early voting so far, the first time that has ever happened," the state GOP's Daniel Conston said. "We don't expect to win early voting, but any lead at all is shocking at this point and a testament to the incredible enthusiasm amongst Republicans."
At the same time, the early-voting numbers provide evidence that the Democratic ground-level organization in some states is matching or exceeding Republicans' enthusiasm.
Democrats point to states like Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia, where they have turned out more of their partisans than Republicans so far. And they say they're focused on getting out voters who might not otherwise come out in an off-year election.
Unions are spending hundreds of millions on phone banks, canvassers, vans to drive voters to the polls, and other GOTV efforts. They spent $300 million of this soft money in 2008 and will probably spend a little less than that this year.
The GOP is not this organized although they won't be short of money. If you thought all that was left to do was pop the corks on the champagne, you are mistaken. Every vote is going to count.
Vote early or vote on election day - and bring a friend.