This is a bizarre thing to say for two reasons. First, it means that the millions of Trump voters in New York, California and Illinois are unintelligent because they live in a place where he is trailing. It also means that the residents of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are unintelligent since Trump is trailing in all of those states, according to current FiveThirtyEight polling averages.
Oh, it also includes the people he was talking to, since he is also behind in North Carolina.
That’s not the point of this article, but it’s related to it. Trump’s broader point is not that he thinks most Americans are unintelligent. It is that, to some extent, he thinks he will win the election, because, as happened four years ago, the stars will align and unexpected grass-roots support will push him over the finish line in just enough places. He talks about this through the lens of his campaign’s enthusiasm advantage, the determination in multiple polls that voters planning to support him are more enthusiastic about him than supporters of former vice president Joe Biden are about Biden. Given that, how could he lose?
The answer is simple: Biden voters are also enthusiastic about voting but often because they want to vote against Trump, often far more than they want to vote for Biden. In other words, Trump’s right that everyone wants to go vote because he’s on the ballot. He just ignores that this is poised to work against him.
Over the course of this election cycle, polling has repeatedly captured unusually high levels of enthusiasm about voting. In Gallup’s polling, for example, the percentage of respondents who say they’re more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous years has consistently been higher than in recent elections, even after enthusiasm has spiked late in the campaign.
We’re already seeing evidence of that enthusiasm in early voting, as The Post reported this week. To some extent, that’s a function of the willingness of Democrats to vote early and by mail, something that is polarized this year, given Trump’s repeated excoriations about the dangers of voting by mail. (This is also untrue.)
But it’s also true in places where voters are being encouraged to cast ballots by mail. There are nine states in which such a system is in place this year, as well as D.C., up from five in years past. In those states, including Colorado, California and Nevada, ballots are sent to every voter, meaning there’s little reason to vote early beyond eagerness to vote.
Yet in five of the six states for which detailed data is available — compiled by the United States Elections Project — the number of votes already returned exceeds 10 percent of all of the votes cast in 2016. In Vermont, the number of votes already in is equivalent to more than a third of the 2016 total.
How unusual is this? Well, at this point in 2016, Coloradans had returned fewer than 13,000 ballots. So far this year, they’ve returned almost 300,000.
Again, we might expect those returned ballots to generally align with partisanship in the state, all things being equal. The vote-early-or-vote-on-Election Day split which might occur in other states is largely eliminated, so there’s far less reason for Republicans following Trump’s rhetoric to sit on their ballots.
In the four states for which data is available, though, the percentage of returned ballots that are from Democrats generally matches the percentage of the 2016 vote that went to Hillary Clinton. The percent of returned ballots that are from Republicans in each case lags well behind the vote share Trump received.
The Elections Project’s data allows a more direct review of who’s already voting in these states. In California, Colorado, Nevada and New Jersey, the percentage of returned ballots among Democrats — meaning the percentage of ballots sent to Democrats that have come back — is higher than the rate of return for Republican ballots.
There are probably other factors at play here besides Democratic enthusiasm about voting against Trump. Democrats may well be concerned about slow mail service meaning that their votes arrive too late, for example. This data also doesn’t mean that Trump is necessarily going to lose these states (though barring some sort of world-historic event, he’s not going to win California or New Jersey). But it does suggest that it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who are the ones champing at the bit.
Or maybe it means something else entirely! What do I know? I live in New York, where everyone is unintelligent.
how make fire
This article was updated to clarify the process for voting in the nine mentioned states and D.C.