Early voting numbers are rolling in, and campaigns are claiming their early voting victories.
Clinton looks like she is up in Virginia and North Carolina — on track to have higher numbers than President Barack Obama did in 2012. Iowa and Ohio look better for Donald Trump than they did for Mitt Romney, and voting registration has evened out between parties in Florida, a state where absentee voting has typically swayed Republicans. Looking at the numbers in swing states, things are looking up for the Clinton campaign; CNN reported that Clinton's numbers in Arizona — which are also better than Obama's in 2012 — might bring the typically red state into play as well.
University of Florida voter turnout expert Michael McDonald concluded for the Huffington Post that early voting results seem to be consistent with what polling has been telling us so far: Clinton has a slight edge in Florida and North Carolina, and has a bit of a sore spot in Iowa, where Trump is currently leading by 3.7 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
In other words, "despite weakness for Clinton in the Midwest, Clinton looks well-positioned in other states Trump still needs for an Electoral College victory," McDonald writes.
These are good signs for Hillary Clinton: Early voting is beginning to reflect her lead in the polls. But it's important to remember not to read too much into early voting numbers; they give an incomplete, and at times misleading, picture of the election. They are, however, a good judge of voters' eagerness and decidedness, which can be a source of encouragement — or discouragement — for campaigns.