Voter Interest. A new NBC News poll found 70% of all registered voters expressing high interest in the election – either a “9” or a “10” on a 10-point scale – the highest percentage ever in the survey for a midterm election at this point. By party, however, 78% of Republicans have high interest in the midterms, compared with 69% of Democrats. The 9-point GOP enthusiasm edge is up from September (when it was plus 3) and August (when it was plus 2).
Seventy-one percent of voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with 20% who say it’s on the right track. It’s the sixth time in the last seven NBC News polls that the wrong track answer has been higher than 70%. Twenty percent say the economy will get better over the next year and 26% say it will stay about the same, while 50% say it will get worse – the highest number on the question dating to 1994.
The poll also found that 9% of registered voters say they’ve already voted in the midterms, 40% say they plan to vote early (either by mail or by early in-person voting), and 47% say they will vote at the polls on Election Day.
Early Voting. Early voting is underway, and more than 7.5 million people have already voted, either in person or by mail. Some states have already smashed early voting records set in the presidential election of 2020. Florida has had the most ballots cast thus far (more than 1 million), followed by Georgia with more than 800,000. On Monday, Oct. 17, the first day of early voting in Georgia, 131,318 voted in person, up from 70,849 on the first day of voting ahead of the 2018 midterm election – an 85% increase.
Political analysts believe the increase in absentee and mail voting could lead to a replay of 2020, when multiple states did not have final results in close elections for several days. Some states, including the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, do not allow election officials to begin opening mail-in ballots until Election Day, and Michigan allows just two days of processing before Election Day. Both Wisconsin and Michigan have seen nearly twice as many absentee ballots cast compared with 2018.
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