Alina Fisk, 4, poses with a Donald Trump cutout while costume shopping with her mother, Jamie, Wednesday Oct. 26, 2016 at Spirit Halloween in Port Richey, Fla. (Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
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The millions of votes that have been cast already in the U.S. presidential election point to an advantage for Hillary Clinton in critical battleground states, as well as signs of strength in traditionally Republican territory.After trailing in mail ballots, Democrats surged ahead of Republicans in North Carolina ballots cast after the start of in-person early voting last week. Democrats currently lead in ballots submitted, 46 percent to 29 percent.In-person voting began Monday, and Democrats have pulled virtually even with Republicans, at 41 percent each.Democrats lead in returned ballots, 46 percent to 35 percent.Nearly 70 percent of all Nevada ballots were cast early in 2012; Obama won the state by 6 percentage points.More than 616,000 ballots have been cast and Democrats are about even with Republicans, 37 percent to 38 percent.In Colorado, where early voting has been by mail, Democrats led 40 percent to 34 percent among the 416,000 ballots returned. Republicans barely led in total ballots cast compared to independents, 38.6 percent to 38.5 percent. That could mean that Evan McMullin, a third-party candidate, is drawing support from Republicans unhappy with Trump. Democrats still trail at 19.4 percent, but they're in an improved position from 2012, when Republicans held a 58 percent to 13 percent lead.
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