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Thursday
Nov062014

Anyone want to join me for a trip to Pakistan?

The morning after the election, tired and a little dejected, I stood with five Indians and four Pakistanis inside the Tampa International Airport, seeing them back off to Washington, DC. When I signed up for this, I didn't know what to expect. What I didn't expect was what two of them said to me: "you have changed my entire view of your country."

I didn't know how to react. So I cried.

I've started and trashed this piece four or five times. Chalk some of it to post election exhaustion -- for the better part of 18 months, I've been engaged in what became the most competitive Congressional and the most competitive Governor's race in the country. Mostly, like my trip to Asia last winter, I walked away from this experience more unsure of the world than ever before -- but in a good way. I write to process information, and this is one I haven't been able to fully process. Even as I finish this, I find it hard to put to words.

As my friends know, last December, I spent nearly three weeks in Southeast Asia as part of a delegation of Americans visiting the Philippines and Malaysia. That experience was nothing short of life changing. You can find my writings from that trip on this site.

As a result of that trip, the organization that arranged my Asia delegation, the American Council of Young Political Leaders, asked if I would host a group of foreigners in Florida to observe the US elections. Despite it being a fairly hectic time, saying yes was the least I could do in appreciation for the opportunity the organization gave me -- plus in reality, the last 72 hours of an election for a guy like me is mostly about conference calls and riding out the anxiety in an office. Conference calls in a van with 9 strangers was a welcome relief from sitting in an office.

When I said yes to hosting, I reached out to my host in Malaysia, the treasure to world humanity known as Jack Lim. Besides some very good advice, Jack said that he got far more out of hosting than the delegates got from their trips.

I was assigned a delegation from Pakistan and India, to arrive on Halloween and stay through the Wednesday after the election. The goal of the trip, from my perspective, was twofold: give them an introduction to American-style elections, as well as give them a chance to experience some ole fashion US culture, and interact with everyday Tampa area residents.

The agenda was packed, from attending a Tampa Bay Lightning game, to church at a historically African American parish, an Orlando rally with President Clinton, dinner with local Indian and Pakistani Americans, and even a lunch in downtown Lakeland with former Senator and ACYPL alum Paula Dockery. They got a good taste of Florida.

The Indian delegation was made up entirely of young elected officials. They came from far reaching corners of the country. The Pakistani delegation was comprised of leaders working around government. At first, the two country delegations were polite to eachother, but largely separate, as the tensions between the two nations are well documented. The two groups kept to themselves, riding in separate busses, sitting at separate tables, and generally keeping to themselves. Over time, walls came down, and everyone grew close. That's the goal of these trips - expand cultural understanding and build bridges that become lifelong relationships.

The Indian delegation was a ton of fun. All young electeds, all heading off to do great things in their country, and all who will be lifelong friends. I can't wait to visit them in their country soon -- and I will talk them in a separate post.

But in this post, I will focus on the Pakistani piece of the puzzle.

So how do we think of Pakistan?

Failed state. Extremists. Terrorists. Fanatical. Unsafe. Unstable. Backwards. Radical. Untrustworthy.

For me, the only human perspective I had previously of Pakistan was through a fellow from graduate school at FSU. He was thoughtful, moderate, bright and bullish on his country. He suggested I visit. That seemed a bit crazy, plus maybe he was the exception. He didn't fit the frame. All I know is I had a lot of questions.

Again, unlike the Indian delegation, the Pakistani delegation was entirely made up of people outside of elected office. Asif is a journalist who covers their Parliament and the Pakistani Defense Department (how's that for a beat), Saubana works for an anti-corruption agency, Adnan is deeply involved in the energy industry and Nisar works for an NGO that encourages civic engagement and fair elections.

On the second night of the trip, inside a luxury box at a Tampa Bay Lightning game, we started talking. First it was me: why is there religious extremism, why should we trust your government, and why the hatred of the west....then it was them: drone strikes, the sense that the invastion of Iraq was rooted in religion, and their view that the US only wants to use Pakistan, not help it. It wasn't until the last two minutes that I even knew the score of the game.

The conversation continued -- in the minivan we drove around Tampa and Orlando, outside of a primarily African American church on Sunday morning, and even over absurdly spicy Indian food late the eve of the election. And what became apparent - most of our mutual preconceived notions of the other's country were based in narratives rooted in just parts of the truth. And just like my friend from college, I found them each to be thoughftul, moderate, and driven to create a different future for their nation. We frequently didn't agree, but that was ok.

Around the third day, one of the delegates said to me "you just need to come see for yourself." My response: "is it safe for a guy like me" was met with pretty quick disdain. As a late friend of mine once told me after spending a significant amount of time in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, that their culture treats invited guests like family -- which extends to their security-- and that he always felt comfortable with friends there. After realizing the error of my response, I said "of course." They would have never said "come" if they felt it was unsafe, anymore than they'd put their own brother at risk.

Don't get me wrong, Pakistan has a long ways to go. There are places that are ungoverned, where extremism thrives and where threats to America clearly exist. Corruption is far too prevalent. Infrastructure is crumbling (they kept commenting on the quality of our roads). The government there frequently is a total disservice to it's citizens.

Each of the delegates had a job that challenges the existing power structure, meaning their decision to work in the arena has a different kind of risk than my decision to do so here. When I do something people don't like, I get to deal with the peanut gallery. When my friend Asif writes a story that pushes a boundary, his potential consequences are far severe than some snarky remarks in the comments section of a website. There they have real threats, threats a government often can't protect them from. I'd like to think I would have the courage to do what they think is normal, but I don't know that I do.

But for all of the country's severe and very real problems -- and frankly, for all of the suspicion of the US that admittedly exists within broad strokes of the Pakistani population, I know I am guilty of viewing the nation of people there through an unfair lens. The truth is, the people I met live just like we do: trying to keep a job, pay bills, give their kids a better life, while improving their community. The terrorism that struck the historic Wagah border crossing during their trip here offended them as much as it did the rest of humanity. It's easy to forget that in the frame that we view that part of the world. We are very much in this together.

I was totally unprepared to be embraced completely as family by four strangers from a country that we know almost nothing about, each of whom put down their earlier notions of America to spend time here, and approached their time in this country with open minds and open ears. Just like my Malaysian friend Jack told me would happen, I know for a fact their impact on me was far more profound than any impact I had on them.

So yes, I will absolutely be taking them up on their invitation. In fact, I can't wait. I'd go tomorrow if I could (as I've since learned, getting a Pakistan visa is a several month proposition - so it won't be tomorrow!). And I will ask them to come here to visit again.

And to my Indian friends - I will be writing about -- and coming to visit you too!

Tuesday
Nov042014

I need a drink

To: Fellow Hacks
From: Steve
Re: Is it over yet?
Date: Do you really not know?

Topline:

After final absentees, Dems cut the GOP lead to 97k votes or just over 3%. It was 13% at the start of early voting, 12.2% at this point in 2010.

The total gap is down 180k since this point in 2010. And if you somehow missed the other 37 memos, Governor Scott won by 61k votes, or roughly 1%.

I believe the final registration margin will be roughly 2 points, and I believe my guy will win. And if I'm wrong, I have to buy Kirk Pepper dinner. There are worse things.

But today is Election Day, so more crunching is pointless. Just vote people

Mostly I wanted to take a minute to say thanks.

To Gwen & Charlie, Carole & Steve, Bob & Adele - Thank you for your friendship and your confidence.

To Omar - As my stepdad would say, you done good. I am proud of you.

To Julia - No one ran a better Congressional. No one in America.

To Frank, Jim, Anzo, Jeff, Scott, Corey, Kanner, Dylan, Kevin & Jessica - What a year. Not sure how we made it.

To Dan- It was fun to go to battle again with you.

To Fred, Gary, Troy, Neal, Wayne, Todd & Zander - love you guys. I won't miss the conference calls.

To Billy - I added it up, you owe me dinner.

To: Mac & Travis - Thanks for being friendly skeptics, emphasis on the first word. Lunch soon. On Mac.

To Mike - I've been on both sides of the battle with you. I've learned that I'd rather be on your team.

To Ben- I need a run.

To: Darrick - I appreciate your frequent calls of prayer, even if you are for the other guy. You are a good man.

To Nikole, thank you for enduring another one, and to Colleen, thank you for letting me use your house like a dorm.

To Tim: I'm billing you for my carpal tunnel surgery.

And to the bipartisan brothers of @kienascar - We all know one thing: Kevin is on the clock.

And to the TV stations: Don't spend it all in one place.

Monday
Nov032014

Monday Florida Gov race

To: Both interested and disinterested parties

From: Steve Schale

Date: Nov 3, 2014

Re: Looking Forward to Car Ads

I will add more to this as the day goes forward.

Topline:

Souls to the Polls was very good for the Democrats, who cut some 25,000 votes off the GOP advantage in one day.

The margin now stands at just under 100k votes, or 3.3%. In 2010, the GOP advantage was 12.3% or 272k votes.

The GOP has lost 172K votes from their 2010 advantage. As a refresher, Governor Scott won in 2010 by 61k votes or 1%.

If Election Day just does as it did in 2010, the GOP registration margin will be less than 2%. And as we know, Democratic turnout has consistently outpaced GOP predictions of another 2010 performance.

Observations:

The electorate will be more diverse.

Black turnout is nearly 12%, a full point higher than 2010. Just this change alone would cut Scott's 61k margin in 2010 to roughly 10k votes.

Democrats hold a roughly 80k margin among the voters who did not vote in 2010. In addition, some 40 percent of NPA voters did not vote in 2010. In other words, non-midterm voters did not vote in 2010.

Women continue to outpace men by 54:46.

In conclusion

I'll write one more tomorrow after the final numbers, but thanks to all for your feedback. I've enjoyed many a friendly debate with journalists and fellow R&D hacks.

We all want this to be over. But in the end, we are one state, the greatest state in the greatest country. I truly believe my guy will win, albeit narrowly. But regardless of who wins, I hope we can all commit to coming together. The issues facing Florida are too big for division. And because there really should be more honor among thieves.

So go vote Florida. It's now on you.

Sunday
Nov022014

Sunday Nov 2 Gov race Update

To: Those rooting for my guy, those covering my guy and those who aren't rooting for my guy, but still say nice things about my memos.

From: Steve

Re: I need to find real work or sleep

Topline:

After the last Saturday of early voting, Dems have cut the GOP advantage to 4.2% down from 4.9% yesterday and 12.7% on the equivalent day in 2010.

The GOP advantage is down to 125k in raw votes, compared to 275k in 2010. As a refresher, Scott won by 61,500 votes, or just over a point.

Voting has now just under 3 million, and personally, I think we are headed for an election where at least 6 million people vote, which is higher than I initially thought.

Highlights:

Black turnout (African American and Caribbean) is well over double what if was in 2010. Black voters now make up 11.3 percent of all voters, which exceeds the total share four years ago, and some two percent higher than this point four years ago.

Also, and this is important with the gender gap: 55 percent of voters at this point are women.

12 counties continue voting today.

Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Duuuuuuval, Hillsborough, Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Seminole, St Lucie & Suwannee.

Final note:

I apologize for missing a day. Yesterday I spent the day hosting a group of political leaders from India & Pakistan who are in Florida with the American Council of Young Political Leaders to observe the elections. Last year I was honored to travel to SE Asia on a similar trip, and besides these memos, please take a minute to read some of the notes from that trip on my website.

And one more, if you are for my guy, get out there and hustle. Bang on doors, call voters, and pester your friends to go vote. It's a stunningly beautiful weekend, plus with Scott spending an almost comical $13.2 million in TV ads this last week, canvassing will save you from wanting to throw the TV out the window.

And if you aren't for my guy, stay inside and watch some TV! Someone should watch all those ads!

Friday
Oct312014

Friday Gov Race Update

I apologize for the delay in this update. Between some travel today and welcoming a foreign contingent to Tampa from the American Council of Young Political Leaders, I have not had time at my computer. Unlike my memo writing compatriots on the other side, I am a mere volunteer without a press staff of 2700 to help with these. I also mistakenly figured a reprieve from the memos would be welcome, but based on emails and texts, back by popular demand...

The Halloween edition of The Memo:

Topline:

Democrats won the day by a margin of roughly 5,000 votes. This dropped the GOP advantage to 133,000, or just about 5.2%. Yesterday it was just 138,000 and 5.9%.

On the same day of the campaign in 2010, the margin was 265,000 or 14.5%. Again for reference, Scott won by 61,500 votes in 2010, or just over 1% in an electorate that was +5% GOP. I believe we will be under that 5% edge before the first vote is cast on Election Day.

It is worth noting that yesterday, the total number of pre-election day ballots surpassed the total number voted before Election Day in 2010. This was reached three days earlier in the cycle. Going into Election Day, the GOP had an advantage of 11.9% or 271,000 votes.

Couple of highlights:

Nearly twice as many Black voters (African American and Caribbean American Floridians) have cast a ballot compared to this point in 2010. As a result, Black voters make up 2% more of the electorate at this point compared to 2010. In total, in 2010, Black voters made up 11% of all voters.

Democrats continue to show the biggest gains in areas where we need to do well: Osceola, Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties are the four counties with the largest shifts towards the Democrats compared to the last Governor's race.

Counties in the I-4 corridor make up all but one of the rest of the top 11: Hernando, Orange, Sarasota, Pasco, Manatee and Seminole. St. Lucie, in the Palm Beach media market is the other. These are all places where for a Democrat to win statewide, we need to either expand our 2010 margins or narrow the GOP advantages.

In addition, NPA voters have grown from 14% at this point in 2010 to 17.4% today. If this holds up, the percentage of the electorate made up of by partisans will be lower in 2010, and given the GOP traditional advantage, this is a good change for Governor Crist.

But most importantly, this election is almost over. 40 year old me should have listened to 38 year old me, who tried to say that I was too old for this stuff. All that being said, its been a honor to be in the middle of this with both Governor Crist and Gwen Graham, though mostly I am looking forward to rest.

Until tomorrow's memo, Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween.

Thursday
Oct302014

Thursday Gov Race Update

Today's update is short.

Topline:

Democrats won both early voting and vote by mail to cut the overall GOP lead to 137K, or roughly 5.9%. On this day of the campaign in 2010, the GOP margin was 15.7% or 262k votes. In other words, the Republican raw vote advantage is approximately 125k votes less than at this point in the 2010 election.

That 125k margin is approximately twice Governor Scott's margin of victory in 2010. In other words, if 2010 was held today, Alex Sink would likely have won at roughly the same margin that elected Governor Scott in 2010.

The margin is also significantly below the 11.9% advantage that the GOP had going into 2010, which equated to roughly 271,000 votes. In that election, the GOP had a total 5% advantage after all votes were cast. We today are modeling towards a much more balanced electorate.

One other interesting point:

Democrats are voting at a much higher proportion to their 2010 levels compared to Republicans.

To date: Democrats are 61 percent over their 2010 vote totals, while GOP is at roughly 23% over their comparable vote totals in 2010. Also, nearly twice as many NPA voters have cast ballots compared to this point in 2010, and with virtually every public poll showing Gov Crist doing well with NPA voters, this trend is good news.

Until tomorrow. Go Noles!!

As always, if you have questions, please let me know.

Wednesday
Oct292014

Wednesday 10-29 Gov Race Update



To: Friends of the Campaign, Members of the Press, My Mother Judi Taylor who Favorites all my Memos on Facebook, People searching "Fred Taylor Hall of Fame" on the 'Internets', my friends Mac and Travis, and Greg Blair

From: Steve Schale

Re: Sleep is for the Weak - 6 days to go

Topline Results:

Tuesday's early voting continues the trend we have seen since Day 1 of early voting, the gap between Republicans and Democrats continues to drop, now standing at 6.4%. This gap compares to 16.6% on this day of the election in 2010.

The GOP advantage stands at 140K, which is 100K votes lower than the margin that the GOP held at this point in the election in 2010.

Another way of looking at it, after yesterday, roughly 2.2 million have voted. The 2010 election reached this level on day 3 of the election, on which day the GOP held a 12.6% advantage. In real votes, the GOP held a 275K vote advantage, compared to 140K today.

To put both of these in perspective, Rick Scott won the election in 2010 by just over 1 percent, or 61,500 votes.

Looking at a Vote Model

To dig a little deeper into the vote margins, I continue to believe that we are tracking towards an election where Republicans will have a 1.5 to 2 point advantage among registered voters after everything is counted -- compared to 5% in 2010. As Marc Caputo reported a few days ago, this would be an election where neither party would have a real advantage.

Even if the two parties essentially tie in all remaining votes, the final vote tally would be just under +2.5% Republican in terms of the people who vote.

So how does Crist win in this scenario? Its pretty simple: If Crist receives roughly 2% more of the Democratic vote than Scott wins of the GOP vote, and wins the NPA by a few points, Crist would win a narrow election. And again, it is important to keep in mind that at this point, +2.5% GOP appears to be a worst case scenario at this point.

Other Observations

Not all of the data reports timely, but it appears that Democrats won vote the day yesterday, driven by more Dems voting by mail than GOP.

The top five counties where Democrats have improved the vote margin over the Republicans are all places where Democrats win, showing that our base turnout effort is very strong. These include: Osceola (+16.4), Dade (+15.3), Palm (+14.5), Broward (+14.1) and St. Lucie (+13.7).

For example, in Dade County, Dems are up from 52,000 in 2010 to nearly 87,000 today and Broward from 47,000 to 88,500.

The gains are not limited to just Democratic counties. Traditionally Republican counties in the Tampa media market also show real gains for the Democrats, like Sarasota, where Democrats have cut the gap by nearly 13%, Hernando by nearly 13% and Pasco by 12%.

One county worth mentioning is Manatee, where a small but spirited local Democratic operation there has turned out 111% more Democratic voters than voted at this point in 2010, closing the gap by 11%. These changes matter, as they go right to the core of those counties where Republicans need big margins to win statewide. We are expanding our support in base counties, and cutting into their support in counties they win.

Responding to a Question from Scott Campaign. Answer: 600,000

Finally, I wanted to take a moment to answer a question posed to me via a blind copy email to members of the Florida Press Corps, by Greg Blair, the Communications Director for Governor Rick Scott. Asked Greg to me: "Would you say that having to tell your donors that it’s okay you’re losing every single day has had a negative impact on your fundraising late in the campaign? And as your fundraising lags, how much money are you able to put behind that Clinton ad you’re touting so much?

Since October 4th, the Crist for Governor Campaign has out-raised the Scott for Governor campaign by $600,000. This is largely due to a growing optimism among Crist supporters that the combination of good public polling and early voting numbers provides Governor Crist with an excellent chance to win. Now in fairness, our candidate can't stroke him a $TBA million check to run 10,000 negative ads this week, but nonetheless, we are doing well.

I hope by answering this question that Greg and his friends in the press corps can help me get a very simple answer out of my memo writer partner in crime Tim, will he join me in endorsing in a bipartisan manner Fred Taylor's bid for the Hall of Fame? It may be a silly question, but no more silly than the GOP's constant suggestion that this race is just like 2012.

A quick thanks

My ability to crank out these daily missives is made possible primarily due to the help of one person, Ben King. Ben is one of the smartest data guys that you have never heard of. Every morning and evening, I pepper Ben with questions and instead of writing back "Old Man -- Go Home," he replies back with spreadsheet after spreadsheet of data. I owe him more bourbon than even my Republican operative buddies Kirk Pepper and Kevin Sweeny could consume in a lifetime for his hours of work. So Ben, thank you for your help and more importantly your friendship.

I will admit these memos are silly. But we write them because if we don't, the media will say we are hiding and not responding. So I will be billing the Florida press for my future carpal tunnel surgery.

But it boils down to this: all that matters are the votes. This race is nothing but close. I do believe Crist is ahead -- as I am sure anyone who saw the Rick Scott campaign Giuliani ad would agree -- or their increased TV buy from yesterday, and I am confident that we will win.

But Democrats need to go vote, like right now.

We vote, we win. It is that simple. I for one, will be canvassing this weekend.

Until tomorrow's memo volley.




Tuesday
Oct282014

Tuesday 10-28 Gov Race Update

Friends - For the press on our call today, this is basically a recap.  For everyone else, these are my notes from yesterday's voting.  I apologize for getting this out later than I wanted.  Steve

Toplines:
 
The trend line continues to look good for the Democrats.  The delta between Republicans and Democrats is 7.1, down from 7.6 yesterday and 13 a week ago on Monday.  By comparison, the GOP advantage in 2010 was 17.1 on this day in the campaign.

In terms of real votes, the Republican edge is 78K votes less than it was in 2010. This is important because in 2010, Rick Scott won by just 61,500.

Also, if you compare the election at the same number of votes, just shy of 2,000,000 (which happened just 4 days out in 2010), Republicans held a 13.8% advantage, which equates to 276,000 votes.  In clearer terms, the GOP advantage in the vote margin was roughly 135,000 better at the same number of votes in 2010 than it is today.  

 
Sporadic Voters are Voting & Number of NPA is Growing

The electorate is expanding.  To date, roughly 29 percent of the Democratic vote did not participate in 2010 -- with the vast majority of those as voters who were registered in 2010.  For the GOP, the number is 20%.  
The big news:  NPA voters are really showing up.  40% of NPA voters did not vote in 2010.  In fact, the NPA share of the vote is up from just under 14 at this point in 2010 to 17% today.  This is coming straight from the GOP as their share of the electorate decreases since 2010.
Also, Democrats have a roughly 30,000 vote advantage among the expansion universe of voters.
 
Some of the GOP spin is just plane silly

The last Republican memo suggested that Democrats had to go into Election Day with a huge lead in order to win the election, like in 2008 and 2012.  With all due respect to my memo writing compatriots over there, this is nonsensical.  This ranks up there with their other suggestion today: that we aren't really running the Clinton ad (we are). 

All we have to do is look at history for Governor Scott.  It took a historical tsunami, in which Republicans had a 12 point & 275K vote edge going into Election Day, for Scott to win.  There will not be more Democrats voting this year than Republicans, but for Crist to win, that isn't necessary.


Right now, if the GOP and Democrats simply tie among partisans from now through the last vote being cast on Election Day, their advantage would be about 2.5 points.  Again, it was 5 in 2010, and that was the model required for Governor Scott to win a 61,000 vote lead. 
 
Don't Expect Much Change During This Week

In 2010, the GOP picked up added about 50,000 to their margin during the weekdays of Week 1.  Given yesterday's near parity, its unlikely they will gain anywhere near that margin, though it would be very surprising if their margins don’t tick up a bit Tue-Thurs.  For comparison, they gained about 15,000 votes during weekdays of in Week 2.  

 
Democrats Go Vote. Now. 

Even the most partisan Republicans are now admitting this race is at toss-up, a major change from even 2-3 weeks ago.   But there is one sure way for Democrats to lose this race:  not voting. 

So get out and vote.  
Seven days until sleep.

Monday
Oct272014

Monday 10-27 Governor's Race Update

To: Press, Friends, Interested and Disinterested Parties, Residents of "Exclusive" Southwood Tallahassee and Canes Fans who once wrote for the Palm Beach Post

From: Steve Schale

Date: October 27, 2014

The numbers for the day: 7.5, 10,000, 66,398 & 61,500

7.5: This is the Republican advantage in votes cast compared to 2010. This is down from 8.2% yesterday and compares to 17.7% at this point in the race in 2010.

10,000: The number of Rick Scott ads purchased for the last week of the campaign, which also equal the number of reasons that Charlie Crist is leading this race.

66,398: The difference in real votes between the GOP advantage in 2010 and today, meaning the GOP lead is 66,398 votes fewer today than it was at this point in 2010.

61,500: The total number of votes, rounded slightly, that Rick Scott won the Governor's race by in 2010.

Topline:

Democrats won the first weekend of early voting, and the first Sunday by just under 7,800, or 15%. In 2010, Republicans won the first weekend of early voting by a small percentage.

As a result, in two days, the Republican advantage over Democrats dropped from 9.1% to 7.5%. Republicans began early voting with a 13 point advantage, meaning the advantage has dropped from 5.5% in a week. In 2010, their advantage held fairly steady during the first week of early voting.

In addition, if we simply compare the election at roughly the same number of votes, Democrats have basically cut the Republican advantage in 2010 in half. To date, roughly 1.825 million Floridians have voted, and with a the 7.5% GOP edge. In 2010, as of October 28th (Day 5 of that election), 1.8 million Floridians had voted, with the GOP holding a 14.9% advantage among all voters.

Digging into Numbers

Democrats continue to be outpacing their 2010 totals in 54 of 67 counties, and are running particularly well in the three southern counties. In terms of percentage improvement over 2010, the Democratic base counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach continue to lead the way.

Democrats in Dade are running 15 points better compared to the GOP today in Dade than we did in 2010, and 14 points better in both Broward and Palm Beach. In fact, in the latter two counties, Democrats have turned out roughly twice as many voters at this point in the election than we did in 2010, while in Dade, the number is about 76% more than 2010.

In addition, we are doing very well in key I-4 media markets. Compared to our margin against the GOP in 2010, Democrats are up 19% in Osceola, 15% in Sarasota, 14% in Pasco and 12% in both Orange and Seminole County. And again, those numbers are the change in the margins between the two parties -- real gains.

Even in hyper conservative Lee County, the largest county in the Governor's home media market, Dems have cut the GOP lead from 41% at this point in 2010 to 29%.

In fact, if you add up all 13 counties where Republicans are outpacing their 2010 margins, the total number of votes they've picked up versus the Democrats is just 1,518 votes.

In total, Democrats have exceeded their 2010 votes to this point by 75%, compared to 38% for the GOP.

Random Commentary

It is important to remember that Governor Scott was elected by roughly 61,500 votes in 2010, spending well over $100 million, in the best election cycle for Republicans -- not in a decade, or a generation, or even a century -- but since Reconstruction. That was their margin of victory in a year that wasn't a wave, but instead a tsunami.

I don't think that anyone but the most partisan GOP operative would suggest that Scott enters Week 1 anything but vulnerable. The 80,000 ish ads they have run, mostly negative, has moved Scott from 42% at the start of the year to, wait for it...42, and there is no reason to think that 10,000 more will do something that the first 80,000 didn't.

Democratic turnout is definitely better than 2010 -- and the gap continues to close. The trend line suggests an election where Republicans will have a turnout advantage in the range of 1.5 to 2, but certainly not anywhere near the 5 point advantage in 2010.

To get to the 5 point advantage in 2010, the GOP had a 12 point advantage in all votes cast going into the election that year. Today it is 7.5%.

Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald suggested last night that it wasn't turning out to be a GOP or a Dem year, and that I would agree with. But one thing I know for certain, Rick Scott has to have a GOP year to win. I firmly believe anything resembling a push in terms of partisan advantage benefits Governor Crist.

And lastly, it is important to always remember Florida's changing electorate.
Florida's electorate will be several points more diverse in 2014 than 2010, and not because of any specific turnout efforts. No, Florida actual voters will be more diverse than 2010 because Florida is more diverse. The pie is different. Even if you assume the wave year of 2010 repeating itself in turnout, Rick Scott's margin of victory would be cut by 50-75% just because of demographics. And we know that it is not 2010. Not even close.

Democrats should not rest easy by any sense of the imagination. This race is razor tight. We are uncomfortably ahead -- but we are ahead. And don't believe me, believe Rick Scott's contribution and 10,000 TV ads this week.

But it is far from over. So if you are on my side, stop reading this email and go grab a clip board and talk to voters. I've pulled a couple of shifts this year and I stay pretty busy! We can all find 2-3 hours to go talk to real voters.

And if you are on their side, go to the beach, it is a stunningly beautiful day.

Until the next volley of emails --

Saturday
Oct252014

Saturday morning 10-25 Press Notes On Early Votes

Press and Friends and Press who are Friends:

This morning update is short, typing this quickly in the parking lot of Paynes Prairie State Park, where I saw a bear on my run. It's easy to forget just how beautiful this state is that we get to call home

The high point:

Friday's returns show the continued trend towards the Democrats. After Friday's voting, Democrats have now closed the GOP advantage in voters to 9.1 percent. This is down from 13 on Monday and compares to 18.5 on the same day of the campaign in 2010, meaning the gap today is less than 1/2 of what it was at this point in 2010. Palm Beach County data is not in this figure, so the 9.1 number might yet drop.

Couple of other notes:

Early and Absentee ballot voting in Broward continues to be very strong. Democrats have now doubled their 2010 total at this point in the election, and have an advantage of 28 points over the GOP, as compared to 15 at this point in the election. And to stress how turnout is going, the current Democratic advantage over the GOP of just over 29,000 votes is nearly equal to the number of Democrats (30,000) who had voted at this point in 2014.

In fact, compared to this point in the election in 2010, the Dems have improved their margin compared to the GOP by more than 10 points in 16 counties, and have improved their standing in 55 counties out of 67 total.

Moreover, the 12 counties where Republicans have improved over 2010 equal less than 1.4% of all votes cast to date statewide.

I also wanted to highlight the three counties around Orlando: Orange, Seminole and Osceola County. Two of these counties, Orange and Osceola, were in the top 7 worst turnout counties in the state in 2010.

However, in this election, sporadic voters are turning out there. And those sporadic voters are looking more like the new voting coalition in Central Florida. Not only are 46% of the non-traditional off year voters non-white, but Democrats are leading among these voters by more than 18 points.

I am going to attempt to provide you with an update on the Saturday early voting tomorrow, but no promises.

One last thing, the Republican memos on this race are exclusively comparing 2014 with 2012. What is somewhat comical about this point is for most of the last two years, they have made the point, rightly, that Democrats can never compare a Presidential turnout year to an Gubernatorial one, which is entirely accurate. This is also why comparing pre-election models in off year to a Presidential year is also simply comparing apples to oranges - though part of me appreciates the fond memories of that win.

The reason why they do it is simple: Rick Scott won by 61,000 votes in the single most Republican year in the state's history. To win at that margin required a GOP advantage of 5 points among registered voters, which in itself required a 12 point advantage among people who voted before Election Day. Given that the margin is already at 9.1, and dropping, it is no wonder they don't want to compare this election to the last statewide they won.

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend and enjoy the fact that the Gators will not lose this weekend. Guess this means they are bowl eligible another week.

And Florida GOP, well played on the bear. That must have taken some work

Steve