Voting trends mirror past presidential year primaries; Super Tuesday looms



(The Center Square) – Early voting trends are consensus forecast by analysts to be consistent with past presidential year primaries as North Carolina’s Primary Election Day approaches.

In the last three presidential-year cycles, early voting for the primary has trended for about one-third of those coming out early to do so in the last two days, and two-thirds come out in the final week.

The early voting period ends at 3 p.m. Saturday. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:30 p.m. The state is part of Super Tuesday, with 14 states having primaries or caucuses for both Democrats and Republicans, and a 15th state – Alaska – also having a GOP primary.

In this year’s election cycle, voters are choosing the much-ballyhooed presidential race plus 14 congressional seats, all 10 Council of State seats led by the gubernatorial race, and all 170 seats of the two General Assembly chambers. Scores of other down-ballot races in counties and communities are also on ballots.

Through Saturday, more than 7.4 million are registered to vote. Unaffiliated voters (36.8%) make up a larger bloc than do Democrats (32.3%) or Republicans (30%). Voters can choose which primary to vote in, but no more than one.

In 2020, the Democrats’ presidential primary had more than 1.3 million votes with 15 candidates on the ballot and four earning delegates to the Democratic National Convention. On the way to the presidency, Joe Biden (43%) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (24.2%) ran 1-2.

The Republican presidential primary had more than 800,000 votes with three names on the ballot, and only incumbent President Donald Trump winning pledged delegates.

In 2016, the Democrats’ presidential primary had more than 1.1 million voters with four candidates on the ballot. Hillary Clinton (54.5%) and Sanders (40.9%) led. Twelve Republican candidates also brought out more than 1.1 million votes, with Trump (40.2%) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (36.8%) running 1-2 and earning 29 and 27 delegates, respectively, to the Republican National Convention.

North Carolina has 133 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on Aug. 19-22; it has 74 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on July 15-18.

Democrats have 3,934 delegates, with 1,968 needed to secure the nomination. Biden (206) leads “uncommitted” (2) in the estimated delegates earned as posted by U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., remains on some ballots and has zero, and author Marianne Williamson has withdrawn.

Republicans have 2,429 delegates, with 1,215 needed to secure the nomination. Trump (122) leads former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (24) and two already withdrawn candidates, in the estimated delegates earned as posted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has nine and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy three.

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