Democrats shouldn’t celebrate just yet.
Women have been more likely than men to cast ballots early so far this year: they make up 56 percent of early voters so far in Georgia; 54 percent in Texas, Florida, and Tennessee; and 53 percent in Nevada, according to an analysis by CNN and the data company Catalist.
Given the gender gap between the parties, there’s a temptation to interpret this as good news for Democrats. But it’s too early to say for sure.
Women tend to turn out at higher rates than men in general, so it’s not a surprise that early voting would reflect a gender gap as well. “Much of the data suggests to us that people who vote early are people who would’ve voted anyway,” Kathleen Dolan, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. “Early voting is not a sign of the mobilization of people who have been absent before.”
What’s more, women — especially white women — aren’t always a reliable voting bloc for Democrats. Analyses of early voting can provide tantalizing clues about voter behavior, but with turnout for women as with everything else, the lesson of 2016 applies: It’s not over till it’s over.
Women are voting early in key states. Here’s what that tells us — and what it doesn’t.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow some form of early voting. The rationale, as Vox’s Emily Stewart notes, is that giving people more time to cast a ballot makes it easier for them to do so.
At least 20 million people had voted as of Wednesday morning, according to CNN. But we don’t yet have comprehensive data on early