Obama early voters: incumbent takes the lead with early votes, according to Reuters poll.

Poll: Obama Leads in Early Votes

The Slatest
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Oct. 15 2012 9:27 AM

Poll: Obama Leads in Early Votes

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US President Barack Obama carries boxes of pizzas as he arrives at a campaign office to greet worker October 14, 2012 in Williamsburg, Virginia

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Obama's doing well with early voters, at least according to one poll that puts him at 59 percent against Romney's 31 percent among those who have already voted.

That poll, from Reuters/Ipsos, has a pretty big "credibility interval" of 10 percentage points for early voters, though Obama still leads above that margin.

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So why the focus on early voting? First, because early voting turnout has been high this election, including in battleground states, at least partially because both campaigns are encouraging supporters to take advantage of early voting opportunities. And second, early voters heavily favored Obama and Democrats in 2008, as Slate explained earlier this month. High early voter turnout is expected to help Team Obama, and, if the Reuters poll is to be believed, for good reason.

But, as Reuters notes, the GOP is trying to claim some of that momentum for its own, despite the numbers heavily leaning in Obama's favor:

The Romney campaign says it is leading or even with Obama among early voters in several closely fought battleground states, including Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. The campaign says it has seen a spike in volunteering and voter enthusiasm among Republicans since Romney's strong debate performance against Obama on October 3.

According to the Reuters poll, about 7 percent of those surveyed have already voted out of a sample of 6,704 respondents. At least 40 states have already opened up the voting process with the election weeks away.

Check out Reuters's full write-up of the results here.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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