Are Dems canniblizing their most enthusiastic supporters in early voting?
It's an interesting question because the strategy appears to be winning the early voting decisively thus convincing fence sitters that Obama is a shoe in. But in order to make that strategy work, the Democrats are pushing their most devoted followers to vote early while the GOP is concentrating on their least excited supporters.
"Democrats are cannibalizing their high-propensity voters in advance of election day to get stories that they are winning," said a GOP analyst. "But in effect they are stealing from Peter, or Election Day, to pay Paul, or early voting."
For example, in Ohio, the Democrats have turned out 43 percent of the most loyal supporters to vote, compared to just 27 percent of the GOP. In Iowa, the difference is 43 percent to 29 percent.
"Republicans will have more reliable voters available on Election Day and are spending our efforts turning out low propensity voters in the absentee and early voting periods," added the analysis.
Even with the difference in turnout of loyal supporters, Gallup finds that among early voters, Romney is beating Obama 52 percent to 45 percent, though some state totals show an Obama advantage. Plus in states like North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, the GOP has seen huge requests for last-minute absentee ballots this month.
The original Democratic strategy on early voting was based on getting 40% of the entire electorate to the polls before election day. That's not going to happen as Gallup estimated that only about 15% of voters had taken advantage of early voting. Most estimates now place the percentage of early voters before November 6 at 35% or less.
What will be the final impact? If the 16 point enthusiasm gap is real, it could mean a "tsunami" of Republican votes that would swamp the Democrats on election day.