Dear Friends and Casual Twitter Followers:
It is Florida election memo time! I know you all are excited.
14 days left. If Jaguars fans can survive the Gus Bradley era, America can do 14 day of this.
Also of note: 18 days until FSU basketball tips off.
So here are some notes on the first day of in-person early voting:
Frankly for the fans of the home team, it is all good news.
Democrats entered the day down after about 2 weeks of vote by mail returns (and about 1.2 million ballots) about 20,000 votes. This 1.7% GOP advantage compares to a GOP advantage of 5% in 2012.
Then early voting happened.
First, not all counties have reported yet (17 yet to report, most are small), but when all said and done, over 300,000 will have voted on day one. Just to put into scale, 1.2 million voted by mail in the first two weeks.
When you add in the mail ballots from yesterday, 22% of all the ballots cast in Florida were cast in person yesterday. That is a remarkable number.
In total, Democrats reduced the Republican advantage of 1.7% going into yesterday to around 0.5% after day one (still counties reporting, so this number will move around).
Here are some interesting places on day one:
Won Duval County by 1,700 votes. Duval hasn't voted for a Democrat for President since Carter, and is one of those places where Trump really needs to run up the score. Dems also won the day in Polk County, an I-4 county that also hasn't voted for a Democrat since Carter.
Won Volusia County by several hundred, again a place that Trump was hoping to build on the gains of Romney in 2012.
And in bellwether county Hillsborough, the only place in Florida to vote for Bush twice and Obama twice, Democrats won by almost 3,000 votes, or roughly 14 points (49-35). By comparison, Democrats have a 7 point advantage in registration.
In fact, Democrats won every county along I-4, plus Pinellas -- including both Republican strongholds Polk and Seminole. The total I-4 vote was 48-33D. Seminole County hasn't voted Democrat in a Presidential election since Truman.
Base turnout was also very encouraging.
In Orange County, Democrats won a robust day 53-27%
In Broward County, Democrats won a record day 63-20%
In Palm Beach, a county which improved for Romney in 2012, Dems won 53-27%
In Alachua, where the University of Florida is, it was 65-22% Dems.
And in Dade County, 10,000 more voters showed up on the first day of early voting than 2012. Of the 35,000 who cast a ballot, Democrats won the day 53-27%.
Finally, with the help of a friend yesterday, I looked into the question of whether Democrats were simply "canibalizing" their traditional vote by encouraging its traditional voters to vote early in person and by mail.
Two points: First, even if that's all they did, Clinton would almost surely win Florida. Republicans need to expand the electorate to win.
But, that isn't what is happening. Over 28% of Democratic vote by mail returnees as of yesterday were either first time voters, or rare voters (voted in 1 of last 3), compared to 20% for Republicans. Other way of looking at it: 80% of GOP vote by mail returns are from the most likely voters, compared to 72% of Democrats. That is voter expansion.
I am going to try to do a little note each day. Try is the operative word.
As always, if you have any questions, give me a holler.