What's going to happen on Election Day? It's anyone's guess at this point, but thanks to the presence of early voting, there are already some numbers to sift through, and there's at least one early indicator that doesn't look good for Donald Trump. Could an unexpected Latino voter turnout surge bury Trump's chances of winning the presidency?
While Election Day is still three days away, and both national and some battleground state polls have shown a narrowing that's bound to make many progressives and Democrats nervous, they can probably take some solace in these numbers. Here's the basic upshot: In three crucial battleground states already, there's been a noticeable increase in the percentage of early votes cast by Latinos, notably one of the groups (alongside Muslims) that Trump's incendiary campaign has aggressively denigrated throughout.
Here are some of the early voting numbers so far. While the jump in Latino early voting in Florida is obviously most notable, up to 14.1 percent of early votes from just 9.6 percent in 2008, the numbers in North Carolina and Georgia are cause for Democrats to feel upbeat, too. In Georgia, more than 19,000 additional Latino early votes have been cast compared to 2012, while in North Carolina, the gain from 2012 amounts to more than 16,000 votes.
To be clear, that tells us nothing about how they voted, but the polls on Latino-American attitudes towards Trump are not subtle. While the figures vary pretty widely from poll to poll ― which is why FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver believes it's possible the polls aren't properly reflecting how the Latino vote could impact the race ― on the whole, Trump is getting dusted. In particular, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken in October found Clinton winning Latinos by a staggering 50 points, a figure even higher than President Obama's advantage with Latinos in 2012.
That's all without mentioning the crucial battleground state of Nevada, too ― a mere six electoral votes, but more or less an essential grab for Trump if he wants to stay competitive. Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston devoted yesterday to covering the final day of early voting in the state's Democratic-leaning Clark County. Specifically, how the turnout there and the estimated number of Democratic votes already banked, may have effectively put the state out of reach for Trump well before Election Day actually rolls around.
If you're looking for a singular image that best captures the potential impact of Latino early voting in Nevada, it's definitely this: the photos of thousands of people lined up to vote at Las Vegas' Cardenas Market, staying long after dark. It's a pretty inspirational sight, although obviously, the fact that people have to contend with such disgracefully long wait times is anything but.
Basically, Trump looks to be in dire straits in the Silver State. And while that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be facing a blue wave crashing across all of the other battleground states ― not all of them have such high Latino populations, for one, and polling in Nevada is notoriously unreliable ― it's got to be an anxiety-inducing early indicator for him. Fortunately, with the election just days away, you won't have to wait much longer to see how it all turns out.