Early voting numbers promising for Clinton in battleground states

Story highlights

  • More than 3.3 million Americans have already voted
  • Democrats also have improved their position in conservative and Mormon-heavy Utah

Washington (CNN)There are hints of good news for Hillary Clinton in key battleground states as millions of Americans vote early, according to a CNN analysis of the latest early voting statistics.

More than 3.3 million Americans have already voted. And among that group, Democrats have improved their position in North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and even Utah compared to this point in 2012.
    CNN has partnered with Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and advocacy groups, academics and think tanks, to receive detailed early vote return information this year. Catalist's voter list connects returned ballots with demographic and registration information, such as party registration, gender and age, and allows a closer look at who has already cast a vote in the election.
    Democratic early turnout has stayed steady in North Carolina compared to 2012, while Republicans have dropped by about 14,500. In Nevada, Democrats have a smaller early voting deficit today than they did at this point in 2012. And Democrats are slightly ahead in Arizona in the early vote so far, though they are lagging Republicans in the tally of how many Arizonans have requested ballots.
    Perhaps most surprisingly, Democrats improved their position in conservative and Mormon-heavy Utah, where recent polls have shown a tight race. At this point in 2012, Republicans led Democrats in early voting by more than 22,000 voters. But so far this year, the GOP advantage is only 3,509.
    The best news Trump is in Iowa. So far, 38,280 more Democrats than Republicans have voted. It's a narrower advantage than 2012, when Democrats outpaced GOP voters by 53,719 at this point.
    The numbers are also significantly down in Ohio, where the Republican-led legislature reduced the number of early voting days from 35 to 28. Only 179,162 people have cast ballots this year, a 66% drop from this point in 2012. Democrats have a slight lead in the early balloting, but their lead is smaller than in 2012, and overall Democratic turnout dropped at a higher rate than it did for Republicans.
    Even though the figures from Iowa and Ohio might bode well for Trump, they might not even decide the election. CNN's latest snapshot of the Electoral College shows Clinton can clinch 270 electoral votes with wins in Colorado and Virginia, without carrying either Iowa or Ohio. She is also favored in Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Hampshire, which combine for 59 electoral votes.
    There's more likely good news for Clinton in Virginia and Wisconsin, where she's maintained a steady advantage in the polls. Early voting has picked up in both blue-leaning states compared to this time in 2012.
    In Wisconsin, the number of early voters to date more than tripled, jumping from 46,389 to 142,190. In-person early voting started in late October four years ago. But after a federal court struck down Wisconsin's strict voting laws, early voting began several weeks earlier in the Badger State this year.
    Virginia saw a smaller increase of 18,079 voters, compared to 2012. The state doesn't allow unrestricted early voting, but residents can still vote early by providing an excuse and receiving an absentee ballot.
    And in Republican-leaning Georgia, early voting is up by about 25% this year compared to 2012. That was clear Wednesday in Lawrenceville, where about 200 people lined up to vote in the county's only early voting location. Waiting times were two hours, officials said, and dragged longer in the afternoon.
    For Clinton to upset Trump in the Peach State, she'll need strong turnout from non-white voters. So far, the African-American share of the early vote is slightly lower than it was at this point in 2012. But Hispanic and Asian voters have slightly boosted their share of the early electorate this year.