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Early voting returns favor Hillary Clinton in key battleground states

In Florida, 55 percent of the nearly 900,000 early votes have been from women.

By Doug G. Ware
Early voting returns favor Hillary Clinton in key battleground states
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton participate in the final debate of the 2016 campaign at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Wednesday. Friday, The Washington Post and Politico reported that early voting data is favoring Clinton in several key battleground states like Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- So far, early voting returns indicate that Democrat Hillary Clinton is doing well in several key battleground states like Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.

About four million Americans have already cast their ballots, including President Barack Obama, rendering the remaining campaigning by Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump meaningless for them.

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And according to those ballots, Trump may have a very difficult time winning the election.

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The Washington Post reported that early returns have so far banked more votes for Clinton than Obama had at this point in 2012 -- an election that wasn't particularly close.

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In North Carolina, early data indicates Trump maintains a lead over Clinton, but it's a far slimmer lead than the GOP saw in the last two elections. In Florida, it's the same story -- a slight, but very narrow, Republican lead. In 2012 and 2008, the gap favoring the GOP was much wider.

Traditionally, most of the early voting is done by Republicans, which accounts for Trump's early lead in those two states. But the dramatic slimming of the margin at this point indicates the GOP may start on election night far behind where they normally are.

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In Nevada and Iowa, early voting is down this election, but Clinton so far has a healthy lead in both states. Democrats have also seen a spike in other states like Arizona and Colorado and Clinton has a 5 percent lead over Trump in Georgia, according to Politico.

The Washington Post reported the early returns in association with voter data firm Catalist.

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Early voting has also shown an upsurge of women voters, who mostly favor Clinton, Politico reported Friday.

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In North Carolina, for example, a state some strategists say is a must-win for Trump, nearly 30,000 more women have voted early for Democrats (87,000) than have Republicans (60,000).

"That's certainly an energy and mobilization indicator this early for the Clinton campaign and Democrats down ballot," Michael Bitzer, an expert on North Carolina's early vote at Catawba College, said.

In Florida, 55 percent of the nearly 900,000 early ballots were cast by women.

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