Fifteen percent of registered voters nationwide have already cast their ballots in this year's election, according to Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending Oct. 28. That is up sharply from 5% a week earlier. The overall percentage either having already voted or planning to vote before Election Day has also increased -- to 33%, from roughly 25% in each of the prior three weeks.
Americans' self-reported plans for when they will vote are similar to what they were at roughly the same point in 2008. Gallup polling conducted Oct. 24-26, 2008, found 17% of registered voters saying they had already voted and 16% still intending to vote before Election Day, totaling 33%. By the end of the campaign, in Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Gallup tracking, 27% reported they had already voted and an additional 5% intended to vote early -- totaling 32%.
The percentage of likely voters who have either already voted or plan to vote early is now 36% -- indicating that this will probably be the percentage of early voters in the actual electorate.Michael McDonald reports that 16.3 million votes have already been cast. If total turnout is 135 million, then the Gallup figure indicates that 20 million people have voted early. The poll is actually consistent with the hard count, since it's reasonable to assume that 4 million or so people have filled out ballots that have not yet arrived at polling places or shown up in the reported figures.