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Experts: Record-breaking early turnout in TN makes predicting election results difficult

Even though voter turnout is high, that doesn't mean one party or the other will have success on election night.

Knoxville — The numbers are historic.

Early voting turnout across the state and here in East Tennessee is the largest ever for a midterm election.

That includes more than 117,000 votes in Knox County, more than 15,000 Sevier County, about 29,000 in Blount and about 17,000 in Anderson County.

If you've already voted, you're one of nearly 1.3 million in Tennessee.

RELATED: Knox County sees another 'banner day' for early voting, nearing 20,000 total votes already

"The one thing that we can conclude from these numbers is that the level of interest in this election is abnormally high," UT political science professor Dr. Anthony Nownes said.

Across the state and in East Tennessee, early voting numbers more than doubled the last midterm election in 2014.

"After that, I'm not sure the numbers can tell us much of anything," Nownes said.

Nownes says that's because the numbers are up in all metro areas from Memphis to Knoxville.

"Williamson county--the numbers are up," Nownes said. "And that is a traditionally republican county. So you think, 'Oh, that's good for Republicans.' But early voting is also up in Davidson and Shelby County, so, do those two offset each other? Maybe, maybe not."

At a local level, Inside Tennessee panelists Don Bosch, who is a Democrat, and Susan Williams, who is a Republican, can predict some trends.

Downtown West is Knox County's busiest early voting site.

MORE: Early voting at Downtown West location resumes after internet issues resolved

It jumped from nearly 15,000 early voters in 2014 to almost 31,000 in 2018.

"Downtown West has traditionally been a Republican voting area," Williams said. "Farragut has been republican. Love Kitchen is one of those that's not. City-County building is purple, maybe more blue than red."

Bosch agrees, saying the downtown corridor is often blue.

"When you start looking at more of the city precincts, certainly a higher Democratic demographic there voting blue."

It's all speculation right now, and we won't find the real answers until after the polls close.

"We're just going to have to wait until Tuesday night, just like we always have on election night," Nownes said.

Nownes says events like the hearings surrounding Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh brought both Republicans and Democrats out to the polls, so he also doesn't expect that to affect who will win Tuesday night.

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