There has been extraordinary turnout in early voting for the North Carolina primary, which is now cut off until Tuesday. A total of 398,635 people have cast a ballot in the Democratic primary (82% of the total voters). Let’s see if we can make an educated guess about how they voted. Here’s the actual demographic breakdown of the early vote.

    % of Early Voters

    Men 39%
    Women 61%

    White 57%
    Black 40%

    White Women 33%
    White Men 23%

    Democrat 84%
    Unaffiliated 16%

For one estimate we can look at the Pennsylvania exit polls and plug those numbers into the different demographics of the Tarheel State. In Pennsylvania, Obama won the black vote 90%-10%. White Democrats and Independents voted for Clinton at a 63%-37% clip. Other races made up 6% of the vote, which is too small of a sample to have any exit poll percentages. Using those numbers, this is what we get for the early voting in North Carolina.

Total votes= 398,635

Total white vote (57%)= 227,222
Total black vote (40%)= 159,454
Total non-white, non-black vote (3%)= 11,959

Estimated White Vote (C- 63%, O- 37%)

Clinton= 143,150
Obama= 84,072

Estimated Black Vote (C- 10%, O- 90%)

Clinton= 15,945
Obama= 143,509

Estimated Non-White/Non-Black Vote (C- 50%, O- 50%)

Clinton= 5,980
Obama= 5,979

Estimated total vote

Clinton= 165,075 (41.4%)
Obama= 233,560 (58.5%)

Some additional considerations could change these numbers. In Pennsylvania, 58% of the electorate was female. In North Carolina, that number is sixty-one percent. That could help Clinton, especially in her numbers among whites. Additionally, while the Reverend Wright flap was a major factor in the Pennsylvania primary, it took place prior to Wright’s recent antics. Nevertheless, it looks like women and blacks are both fired up and were motivated to vote early. Based on the demographic makeup of the early voters, it looks like Obama will start off with about a 17% lead. However, the election day electorate may very well be more male and less black, as it represents a lower-motivated subset of the total electorate. That, on balance, will probably mean that Clinton will do better on election day than she did in early voting.

Still, an approximate lead of 17% is a pretty nice cushion.

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