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ROUNDUP: Trump Rally Had “Minimal” Effect On Early Voting, Strong Early Voting Numbers Good Sign For Louisiana Gov. Edwards In Runoff

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The early voting numbers put Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in a good position to win on Saturday.
Early voting was up 30 percent compared to the primary and African-American turnout as a total percentage of the electorate increased 6 percentage points. Overall Democratic turnout increased by 6 points compared to the primary.
President Trump held a rally in Monroe last week to boost turnout in the early voting period last week—yet it had a “minimal” effect. State Rep. Ted James, an African-American Democrat from Baton Rouge, says Rispone aligning himself closely with Trump may be juicing African-American turnout and helping Gov. Edwards.
Read more about how the surge in early voting benefits Gov. Edwards:
Win With JMC: Conclusion of runoff in person early voting in Louisiana
Whatever the turnout levels are from election cycle to election cycle, black voters (who are almost unanimously Democratic) tend to show up in greater numbers on the last day. But very rarely do they turn out to the extent that they did yesterday: a whopping 40% of the last day early voters were black (blacks represent 31% of Louisiana’s registered voters). As further illustration of how unprecedented black participation this strong is, in the 116 days of available data for in person early voting going all the way back to 2008, only four other times has the black early vote as a percentage of the total vote ever hit 40% (and three of those times were in 2008, when Barack Obama was first elected).
This 40% black electorate was in addition to stronger (relative to the primary) black early voting for the previous six days which never dropped below 29%. This means that the final early vote is 31% black – a figure 6% higher (percentage-wise) than in the primary and 1% higher than in the 2015 runoff.
The Advocate: There was high African-American turnout in early voting; here’s why it benefits Gov. John Bel Edwards
African-Americans turned out in big numbers during the early voting period, boosting the chances of Gov. John Bel Edwards against businessman Eddie Rispone in Saturday’s runoff election.
The race has been rated a tossup, but the governor’s odds may be improving because of a reaction against President Donald Trump, who has revved up supporters twice in Louisiana within the past month to try to pull Rispone, a Republican, across the finish line ahead of Edwards, a Democrat.
African-Americans accounted for 31% of all voters statewide during the seven days of early voting during the runoff, compared to only 25% of all voters during the primary early voting period, according to John Couvillon, a pollster and demographer in Baton Rouge. Early voting ended Saturday.
The surge in voting by black people means that registered Democrats had an advantage of 8 percentage points over Republicans during the runoff early voting period, compared to only 2 percentage points during the primary.
“It makes him the odds-on favorite to be re-elected,” Couvillon said of Edwards. “He’s in a much better position now than I would have thought a week ago.”
Monroe News-Star: Louisiana governor’s race saw near record early voting turnout; here’s what it means
The numbers for early voting last week were only surpassed by the 2016 presidential election.
They were up 30 percent compared to the Oct. 12 primary election.
Analysts like political consultant and pollster John Couvillon said the demographics of last week’s early voting were favorable to Edwards.
Couvillon said early voting turnout for black voters, who he said are “almost unanimously Democratic,” increased from 25% in the primary to 31% in the runoff.
“Early voting was unequivocally a good day for Governor Edwards’ campaign,” Couvillon tweeted Sunday.
Associated Press: Black voter outreach intensifies in Louisiana governor race
To win a second term in his Southern state, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards needs strong turnout from Louisiana’s black voters, who form the core of his party and who lagged in getting to the polls for the primary election.
Edwards and his supporters are laboring to reverse that trend ahead of the Nov. 16 runoff election against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. The intensified outreach shows signs of generating more enthusiasm from African American voters, with early voting numbers showing a higher black turnout than in the primary.
“It’s a whole new game,” said Baton Rouge Rep. Ted James, a black Democratic state lawmaker and close ally of Edwards. “The sense of urgency is just totally different now.”