Startling Change in North Carolina Early Voting Pattern

There is one set of numbers in this breakdown of North Carolina early voting that really jumps out.  This year 52.2% of early voters in North Carolina were age 60 or over.  In 2012, that percentage was 35.5%.  Young voters were scarce among early voters this election.  In 2012, 13.2 percent of the early voters were ages 18-29.  This year the percentage fell to 5.1%, while there was a drop from 21.8 to 13.7% in the age 30-44 age bracket.

We won't know what this all means until tonight, but I suspect that these numbers may be more significant than the fact that there was almost no shift in the Democrat edge in party affiliation and only a small shift down in blacks who voted early.  In recent elections the senior vote has strongly favored Republicans.  Note too that North Carolina Democrats have been splitting their tickets for decades, voting Democrat at the county level where the Democrat primary often determines who will be sheriff and the composition of the County Board of Commissioners.  Then, in November, the same voters send Republicans to Washington, D.C. and increasingly to Raleigh. 

I live in a county where the local government has been controlled by Democrats since the 1960s.  The last time this county carried for a Democrat for President was 1996.  The Charlotte- and Raleigh-area media would have people believing that Republican control of the North Carolina state legislature is wildly unpopular.  It is so unpopular around here that no local Democrat filed to run against my not particularly charismatic Republican state senator.