Early Ballots Show Clinton Strength in North Carolina

“Seven weeks before Election Day, the earliest numbers from advance voting for president show initial strength for Hillary Clinton in swing state North Carolina, good news for Donald Trump in battleground Iowa and a record number of requests for ballots in Ohio,” the AP reports.

“The first early voting figures Tuesday are too preliminary to serve as clear indicators about how the election will go. Still, they are of interest because, unlike polls, they deal with actual voters either casting ballots or taking their first steps to do so. Campaigns are scrutinizing these figures to help guide their strategies.”

Trump Quote of the Day

“Look, I’ve never done this before. I’ve been a politician for seven months. I’m against governors and senators. They’ve done it their whole lives. It would seem to me that people would just go out and vote.”

— Donald Trump, quoted by the Associated Press, explaining that he “never realized” the need to encourage supporters to actually take part in the Iowa caucuses.

Errors Found in Iowa Caucus Results

“Iowa Democratic Party officials are reviewing results from the Iowa caucuses and making updates where discrepancies have been found,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“The latest development follows widespread questions among Iowa Democrats and national media about the accuracy of the counts reported on caucus night, which saw the second-highest number of participants and closest result in Democrats’ caucus history.”

Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) credited Ted Cruz for running an “old-fashioned”, 99-county campaign in Iowa, but also ripped Cruz for using “questionable” campaign tactics, Radio Iowa reports.

Said Branstad: “This thing that they distributed on Caucus night saying that Dr. Carson was likely to drop out and his supporters should support Cruz, that is, I think, unethical and unfair. I think there’ll be repercussions to that.”

Editorial Rips Iowa Democratic Caucuses as Unfair

A Des Moines Register editorial blasts the Iowa Democratic caucuses:

“What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy. The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states.

Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems.”

Why Pollsters Should Poll Until the End

Carl Bialik: “Most Iowa polls showed Donald Trump winning the state’s Republican caucuses. He didn’t. Some Iowa polls showed Hillary Clinton winning Iowa easily. She didn’t. It’s notoriously hard to poll Iowa, but what can pollsters learn from Monday night’s results to improve their work over the next few months — and for the 2020 caucuses?”

“One of the biggest lessons was a simple one: Keep on contacting voters as late as possible.”

Iowa Vote Count Questioned

“Sanders campaign aides told the Des Moines Register they’ve found some discrepancies between tallies at the precinct level and numbers that were reported to the state party. The Iowa Democratic Party determines its winner based not on a head count, like in the Republican caucuses, but on state delegate equivalents, tied to a math formula. And there was enough confusion, and untrained volunteers on Monday night, that errors may have been made.”

Late Deciders Broke for Rubio

Nate Silver: “It’s not uncommon for the polls to be off in Iowa and other early-voting states, but the manner in which Trump underachieved is revealing. It turns out that few late-deciding voters went for him. According to entrance polls in Iowa, Trump won 39 percent of the vote among Iowans who decided on their candidate more than a month ago. But he took just 13 percent of voters who had decided in the last few days, with Rubio instead winning the plurality of those voters.”

Politico: “If polls were only meant to predict the horse-race, pollsters would keep interviewing voters until the very last minute. They aren’t, and that’s why the polls may have missed some late shifts.”