Analysis: Why early vote trends can't tell you who will win

October 17, 2020 at 14:05

(CNN) You've seen the pictures of early voting lines out the door.
We know from the polls that a record number of people will probably be casting a ballot before Election Day this year.
Biden was ahead of Trump by 36 points among those voting before Election Day, while Trump was up by 19 points among those who said they'd vote on Election Day.
And indeed, nothing we're witnessing in the early vote so far suggests that the polls are off.
The issue is that we really don't know the extent to which the early vote will be more Democratic-leaning than the overall tally.
And remember, a vote cast on Election Day is worth the exact same as a vote cast early.
But it was Trump who won overwhelmingly with Election Day voters and carried both states.
With perhaps the exception of Nevada analyst Jon Ralston , I've never seen anyone consistently extrapolate early voting trends to predict election results.
Mainly, you have no idea who is going to turn out on Election Day.
Looking at the early vote to understand who will win in 2020 is kind of like looking at the score of a sports event halfway through without knowing what sport was being played.
There are a lot more people voting early than ever before, and these folks tend to be Democrats.
Just be careful in trying to figure out who is going to win from early voting statistics.
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