Early voting has been going on in North Carolina for several days now. People report large crowds, long lines, and three hours of waiting.
The votes are not known yet, but the party registration of early voters is known, and the news is good. It can be safely assumed, I guess, that registered Republicans will mostly vote for Bush and Democrats for Kerry. Every day in Wake County (Raleigh, Cary etc.), about 53% of the votes are cast by Democrats, and 31% by Republicans. It is similar in Chatham and Guilford counties. The ratio is even better in Durham (67%/20%) and Orange counties.
Of course, Orange Co. will go for Kerry. If Nader was on the ballot, Nader would win here. I actually saw Nader stickers on the cars here. This is one of only three counties in NC in which Edwards did not trounce the competition in the primaries in April. One county went for Sharpton, and two for Kucinich. Orange went for Kucinich big time - he even came to campaign here. It's not for nothing that Jesse Helms called Chapel Hill "Liberal Zoo" (my nickname on some forums and blogs). Kerry came in second, Edwards only third, and Dean still got quite a lot of votes.
The media often makes an error, stating that Edwards won only one primary - South Carolina. He did even better in the North Carolina primary, even though it was after he bowed out of the race and asked his supporters to vote for Kerry. While Repubs here hate his guts, Democrats in NC adore Edwards, and will make sure that NC plays a role next week. Edwards being on the ticket surely makes a difference here - energy is palpable.
Early in the week, reports from the state Fair were that Bush stickers are overwhelmingly present, mainly because K/E HQ was not able to come up with sufficient supplies of stickers and buttons: the table was laid bare every day early in the morning. Now, later in the week, I heard from two independent sources that the ratio of Bush:Kerry is about 1:3....and that is at the Fair, surely not a representative sample of the local academic population.
I also see about 20:1 ratio for Kerry in bumper-stickers and yard-signs on I-40 and in Raleigh, and much better ratio in Chapel Hill. Perhaps, the miracle is still possible - the latest poll has Bush only 3 points ahead, within the margin of error, and I can see in my classroom that the students are engaged and will vote, gleefully noting that "we were never polled - we will be the November surprise for Kerry" - only three out of my 46 students I know, for sure, are Republicans.
In my son's middle school, they had a mock election. Kerry got 350 votes, Bush 240, and Nader 50. Most kids vote just like their parents....
Many young people have a simple three-point plan for their 21st birthday: get drunk, get high, get laid. Well, a friend of mine had a better idea: her plan was to go and vote against Bush for her birthday the other day. What a great birthday favor she gave to Kerry, to herself, and all of us. She reads this blog, so: "Hi, C! Congratulations, Happy Birthday, and thank you. Post a comment sometimes, will ya?"
I swung by Quail Ridge Books today - one of the finest independent bookstores in the country and John Edwards' "home" bookstore. I go there a lot, almost daily, just to see what's new. A couple came in, sporting Kerry/Edwards buttons and "I Voted" stickers. They were buying "Don't Think of an Elephant". Of course I had to talk to them, to praise the book, as well as to suggest "Moral Politics" if the "Elephant" does not give them all their answers.
Speaking of books, I am currently reading Joe Trippi's "Revolution Will Not Be Televised", and "The Divine Right of Capital" (see link on the right for their webpage) by Marjorie Kelly, and can't wait for "The Wimp Factor" to arrive. Once done, I will write book reviews here, just like I did for Gardner's "Changing Minds" (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/08/how-to-appeal-to-multiple.html), and for Lakoff's "Moral Politics" together with E.J.Graff's "What Is Marriage For?" (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/08/moral-politics-in-context-of-history.html). Perhaps I can make it a regular feature here, to write reviews of books I read.
Finally, for "Good Night", here is The Nation's endorsement of Kerry, stronger and better than endorsments by New York Times, Washington Post, or The New Republic: