An Associated Press survey of early voting in certain battleground states shows promising trends for Democrats in Florida and North Carolina, where two Senate seats are being contested.
In Florida, where Republican Sen. Marco Rubio faces a challenge from Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, Republicans are ahead 43 percent to 38 percent in advance voting requests. But that's a much smaller gap than in 2008, when the GOP led 51 percent to 32 percent in requests. Democrats welcomed the narrowing deficit, saying it freed them up to focus on undecided voters in the remaining weeks before Election Day, The AP reported.
A RealClearPolitics average of polls taken from Aug. 31 through Sept. 21 puts Rubio ahead of Murphy by a 6.1-point spread.
In North Carolina, where the incumbent GOP Sen. Richard M. Burr faces Democratic former state Rep. Deborah Ross, 40 percent of early ballots returned so far have come from Democrats compared to 35 percent from Republicans.
At this point in 2012, Republicans had a wide lead over Democrats in returned ballots, 49 percent to 32 percent, according to the AP analysis.
Ross holds a 1-point lead over Burr in the most recent RealClearPolitics average of polls from Sept. 12 through Sept. 23.
Data compiled by The AP also suggested that early voting could account for 40 percent of all ballots cast this year, up from 35 percent in 2012. This may also indicate an increased voter turnout overall.