Iowans are set to cast at least a third of this year's general election votes early, and the partisan breakdown of ballots cast so far looks encouraging for incumbent Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03). The Iowa Secretary of State's Office has been updating statewide absentee ballot totals daily and absentee ballot numbers by county every Friday. I tallied the numbers for the counties in the first, second and third Congressional districts based on October 29 numbers (pdf file). Details are below.
UPDATE: Tim Sahd of the National Journal ranked the 90 House seats most likely to change hands as of October 28. Loebsack's district is number 75 on his list, Braley's is 86 and Boswell's isn't even on the list. In other words, Sahd expects none of the Iowa incumbents to lose unless tomorrow brings an unprecedented catastrophic Democratic defeat.
In the 12 counties that make up IA-01, Democrats had requested 33,325 absentee ballots, while Republicans had requested 23,338 and no-party voters 15,577. Looking at completed ballots that county auditors had received by October 29, Democrats had sent 26,301, Republicans 19,322 and no-party voters 10,974. Iowa Democrats claim that most of the early no-party voters were identified as Democratic supporters, but even if Republican Ben Lange won a majority of the independent early votes in IA-01, Braley should have a lead of several thousand votes going into Tuesday.
In the 15 counties that make up IA-02, Democrats had requested 41,991 ballots, Republicans 25,518 ballots and no-party voters 17,707. Of the ballots received by county auditors, 33,754 were from Democrats, 20,994 from Republicans and 13,201 from no-party voters. Even if the independents strongly favor Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Dave Loebsack should take a lead of 10,000 or more votes into election day.
In the 12 counties that make up IA-03, Democrats had requested 37,449 ballots as of October 29, Republicans 28,478 ballots and no-party voters 13,165. Of the ballots received by county auditors, 29,107 were from Democrats, 23,299 from Republicans and 9,227 from no-party voters. Not a commanding lead for Boswell, but still an edge of thousands of votes even if independents break for Brad Zaun. If a majority of early-voting independents went for Boswell, he could go into election day with a 10,000 vote lead.
Here are the statewide absentee ballot numbers as of November 1:
391,113 ballots requested: 171,801 from Democrats (43.9 percent), 142,665 from Republicans (36.5 percent), 76,312 from no-party voters (19.5 percent).
332,852 ballots received by county auditors: 145,478 from Democrats (43.7 percent), 126,381 from Republicans (38 percent), 60,727 from no-party voters (18.2 percent).
Iowans who have not yet returned their absentee ballots have three options: mail it today (must be postmarked November 1), hand-deliver completed ballot to county auditor's office on November 2, or "surrender" incomplete absentee ballot at polling place on election day, then vote with a regular ballot.