I decided to check out the math in the post at National Review and it checks out. My numbers are a little different because more votes have been entered into the system since Jeff Dobbs did his calculations, but the results are about the same. Assuming Rasmussen Polls is correct that, in North Carolina, Obama will win only 4% of registered Republicans, only 84% of registered Democrats, and only 36% of Independents, then Obama’s early voting lead in the Tarheel State is a paltry 22,043 votes. And, if that is the case, it is probably accurate to say that Obama is trailing in North Carolina by a 52%-46% margin. However, Public Policy Polling has the race tied 48-48.

Now, PPP says that Obama is up big among early voters.

Obama has built up a lead over the first week of the early voting period in the state. Among those who say they’ve already voted he’s at 57% to 42% for Romney. Romney achieves the overall tie because of a 50/45 advantage among those yet to vote.

Yet, among the 991,788 people who have voted, only 502,837 (50.7%) of them are registered Democrats. For Obama to be up to 57%, he would have to be absolutely slaughtering Romney with independents, rather than losing them by 23% points as Rasmussen asserts.

Here’s what we know. So far, 200,000 more Democrats have voted than Republicans. If I simply substitute PPP’s estimate of the Independent vote for Rasmussen’s and keep everything else the same, Obama’s early voting lead would jump from 22,043 to 57,469. That would reflect an electorate where 17% of registered Democrats vote for Romney, Independents are split, and Romney gets 94% of registered Republicans’ votes. In a state like North Carolina, I don’t think those are unreasonable assumptions.

The troubling thing is that Democratic turnout has dropped off dramatically in the last three days relative to Republicans and Independents. Having 200,000 more Democratic votes sounds great, but it probably isn’t adding up to that big of a lead right now. MattTX has Obama with 104,000 votes in the bank. Jeff Dobbs has Obama with about a 12,000 vote advantage. I think the truth is closer to 60,000. I don’t know if that will be enough, but it could be if it continues to grow. Unfortunately, that is not the trend line so far this week.

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