Over eight million Americans have already voted ahead of November 6th general election
Mitt Romney has improved on 2008 Republican figures for early votes cast
President Obama appears to have matched his showing from four years ago
When President Obama flew to Chicago to cast his vote early in Chicago on Thursday, he became one of over eight million Americans to have already made their decision for the November election.
And now with the election just ten days away, early results from registered voters in those polls are giving both the president and Mitt Romney cause for encouragement - despite neither campaign having established a distinct advantage.
President Obama appears to be matching his 2008 presidential victory totals across the country, but Romney is exceeding Senator John McCain's efforts and appears to be already ahead in key state Florida.
A map of state's who have declared the results so far of early voting shows success in Florida for Romney but encouragement for Obama in North Carolina
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he walks to Marine One for a trip to New Hampshire, today while Mitt Romney gets out of his vehicle to board his campaign plane in Akron-Canton Regional Airport, North Canton, Ohio this morning
Early voters arrive and depart from a polling station in Silver Spring, Maryland this morning
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reads a document while flying from Canton, Ohio to Pensacola, Florida today
'I think the early vote tells us the same story that we're seeing in the polls, which is that Obama's not going to win by the same margin he did in 2008,' said Michael McDonald, a professor at George Mason University who runs the United States Elections Project.
'We see it tightening.'
While the most hotly contested battleground is Ohio, unfortunately election officials do not break down early voters by party.
However, both Democrats and Republicans in the state are exceptionally happy with the voter turnout, which has dramatically increased from 2008.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida today
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney greets audience members at a campaign rally in Florida today
In Cuyahoga County in Ohio, 139,884 people have voted so far, compared with 82,764 at this time in 2008.
'Notwithstanding the voter suppression, we're doing great,' said Stuart Garson, chairman of the Democratic Party in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, which the Obama and Romney camps see as key to claiming victory on Tuesday November 6th.
If you look at 2008 as a watershed year,' he said, 'we are actually up. We have exceeded all of those numbers so far to date, which is really just remarkable.'
But with the turnout higher, Republicans believe that they will benefit from early voting this time around because of the higher profile campaign operated by Romney.
'President Obama outspent us in 2008,' said Alex M. Triantafilou, the Republican chairman of Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati. But now 'our effort has the resources to compete … this is a different race.'
'We think the early voting program is working in our favor,' he said, calling Mitt Romney a strong candidate and 'a terrific and an organized Tea Party'.
Indeed, other's believe that the early voting results point to a strong showing in the general election in November for a resurgent Romney.
'My belief is let the data do the talking,' said Adrian Gray who served as national voter contact director for the George W. Bush campaign in 2004.
Gray, who is not working on the Republican campaign this year said, 'I think in most states that I've looked at and ****yzed, I'd say that Romney is in a pretty good position, probably looks a lot closer to 2004 than 2008.'
****ysts point to the fact that Romney has mobilised a larger portion of the early vote than McCain and ****ysts have noted that Republicans are making up a larger share of the early voters than in 2008.
Starting a two-day bus tour of Ohio's small towns and cities, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told voters Saturday that President Barack Obama hasn't made the case he deserves a second term.
Ryan planned stops at a factory and a bakery, a couple of high schools and a dairy on his first day of this campaign swing through Ohio, a state that has become the lynchpin of Republican Mitt Romney's presidential bid.
Romney and Ryan appeared together on Friday night at a high school sports field, and Ryan planned to be in the state alone until Monday, trying to connect with working class voters the GOP needs if it is to deny Obama a second term on Nov. 6.
'We cannot afford four more years like these last four years,' Ryan told 1,000 supporters who huddled on the cold factory floor of Gradall Industries in eastern Ohio. 'And we don't have to.'
Ryan set out on his 400-mile tour of Ohio under gray skies and rain, beginning a swing where he would lay the blame for the nation's struggling economy solely at Obama's doorstep.
While Ohio has an unemployment rate lower than the national average, Ryan has argued that the state's relative fortunes are despite Obama, not because of him.
President Obama became the first sitting president to vote early when he voted in Chicago on Thursday
Battleground state: Aide Garrett Jackson talks to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as they are driven to the airport in Toledo, Ohio yesterday
A bicycle rider pedals past President Barack Obama's headquarters in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County in Ohio
Encouraging early voter results: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks to advisors in a room at the airport before a campaign rally in North Canton, Ohio yesterday
'He can't run on his record. The Obama economic agenda failed not because it was stopped; it failed because it was passed,' Ryan said.
Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin and the top Republican budget writer in the House, said voters need to consider how they want to feel when they wake up the day after the election.
'Think about Nov. 7. Think about how you will feel the next morning when you wake up and turn on the TV,' Ryan said. 'Are we going to have four more years like the last four years? Are we going to wait four years before we have real change?'
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan (left) and his wife Janna (centre) wait as they are introduced at a campaign rally in North Canton
Time, for sure, is ticking for Romney and Ryan. Polls show the race close here and both campaigns' internal polls show Romney's uptick slowing or stalled.
The GOP ticket needs another boost if it is to overtake Obama, who has an advantage in the number of staffers in this state and his efforts to bank thousands of votes early.
To that end, Ryan is appealing in purely parochial terms, promising a revived economy if the GOP ticket prevails.
'Thank you for making the American manufacturing sector proud,' he said in a region that once was a hub but has struggled in recent years.
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Minihan to board Air Force One to travel to a campaign event in New Hampshire, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland today
He blamed Obama for losses in the manufacturing sector, ignoring the larger economic slowdown that had reduced demand for goods and China's rising role in that area.
'We have lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs just in the last four years, 38,000 in just the last two months,' Ryan said.
He also sought to connect personally with the local voters, comparing this Appalachian region to his hometown of Janesville, Wis.
'Where I come from is so similar to here in New Philadelphia,' he said. 'We were kind of a one-factory town.'
Early voters wait in line to vote in the presidential election on the first day of early voting at a polling station setup at the City of Miami City Hall today
Then, the General Motors plant there closed and residents who counted on good-paying jobs to always be available had to take lower-paying jobs.
He cited a friend who went from making $25 an hour with benefits to $9 an hour without.
'That's the story of the American economy right now,' Ryan said. 'That's the story that will end on Nov. 6 when we turn this thing around.'
Ryan even employed sports to win over voters.
'We come from Big Ten country,' he said to applause before turning to the University of Wisco
Read more: Early voting results give Mitt Romney a boost as more Republicans turn out to cast their ballot | Mail Online
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