TargetSmart Insights

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Throughout the early vote period, most states release regular data on who exactly has voted. When we pair that information with our national voter file, we can draw meaningful insights into the composition of the electorate as it comes together.

South Carolina is a state that makes this type of analysis difficult. While the state releases information on how many people have voted, they only infrequently release who has voted. The state finally recently detailed data on the composition of the electorate (better late than never, right?). While we’ll know the full results soon, it’s clear that the electorate is much more Democratic than before.

Here are a few key takeaways:

At least 1.25 million South Carolinians voted before Election Day – roughly 60% of the total 2016 turnout.

African American Vote

Much of this surge is coming from older African Americans who are voting in historic numbers. African Americans comprise 29.6% of the electorate so far, up from 25.3% of the final 2016 electorate. Of note, older African Americans (65+) have already turned out in higher numbers than they did in all of 2016.

Shifts in the White Vote

In 2016, Trump’s base of non-college educated whites made up nearly 50% of the final vote tally. So far, non college-educated whites make up just 39.4% of the electorate. While this key Republican group is lagging, college-educated Whites have grown from 23% of the electorate in 2016 to 27.8% heading into Election Day.

A Surge in Women Voters

Heading into Election Day, women make up 58.2% of votes cast, a 2% increase from 2016. Of those women who have cast ballots, more than a quarter (26.5%) did not vote in 2016 and 8.5% voted for the first time.

For more comprehensive data and analysis visit For the latest early vote data, visit