Fully 16 percent of Marylanders say they will cast their ballot before the November 2 general election, taking advantage of new early voting rules across the state. These voters back Gov. Martin O'Malley over Bob Ehrlich by a wide 3 to 1 margin, according to the new Washington Post poll.
Overall, early voters break for O'Malley by a 68 to 24 percent margin. O'Malley holds a narrower 51 to 43 lead among those planning to cast their ballots on Election Day.
The election is already over for 80,000 Marylanders, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. Through last Friday, 60,000 ballots have been cast at early voting locations across the state and another 20,000 absentee ballots have been returned.
Overall, hundreds of thousands more Old Line State residents are likely to cast their ballots between now and Election Day at early voting centers, which are open until this Thursday, or through mail-in absentee ballots.
While both parties have organized broad efforts to get voters to the polls prior to Election Day, the poll shows Democratic leaning subgroups are significantly more likely to say they'll vote early.
In Prince George's County, an O'Malley stronghold, one in three say they plan to vote before Election Day. Nineteen percent of Democrats statewide say they will head to the polls early, compared with 10 percent of Republicans. According to the poll, a quarter of African Americans plan to show up before Election Day, compared with 13 percent of whites. Two in 10 seniors plan on voting early.
These polling estimates comport with early voting tabulations released by the Maryland State Board of Elections: 64 percent of Marylanders who have already cast ballots are registered as Democrats. Statewide, 56.5 percent are registered as Democrats, according to September registration figures.
Q. (AMONG LIKELY VOTERS) Do you think you'll vote in person at your polling place on Election Day, or vote before Election Day by early voting or mail-in ballot?
Election Day Early in-person voter No opinion Likely voters 81 16 3Race:
Whites 84 13 3 Afr Americans 71 25 4Party ID:
Democrats 77 19 4 Republicans 86 10 3 Independents 83 15 2Region:
Baltimore City 81 14 5 Baltimore Burbs 81 15 5 Anne Arun./How. 81 15 4 Montgomery 83 14 3 Prince George's 65 33 1 Rest of State 90 8 2Age:
Age: under 65 83 15 2 Age: 65+ 75 20 5