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6 Days Out Florida

To:       Fellow Data Nerds

From:   Steve Schale

*5 Days of early voting (including today)

*6 days until Election Day

*54 days left in the Christmas shopping season

*460 days until the Iowa Caucuses

*712 days until my first 2020 General Election memo

*734 days until the 2020 General Election

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Dante Fowler to the Rams for a 2019 and 2020 mid-round draft pick, and yesterday, we saw our biggest day of early voting – more than 350,000 total ballots cast, with more than 220,000 coming from in-person early voting.  The day was a virtual tie, with Republicans winning the day by about 2,000 voters.  As I said in a few tweets yesterday, I think this is the likely trend during the middle part of this week.

In fact, voting was so robust yesterday that the voters have surpassed the entire 2014 in-person early voting total, as well as the entire pre-election day total. 

Total Votes: 3,414,365

Republicans: 1,431,655

Democrats: 1,368,718

NPA/Minor: 613,992

Republican edge is 62,937 (+1.8%)

Tuesday it was 3,063,662 (+2.0%) with GOP holding an edge of 60,705

Monday it was 2,726,392 (+2.2%) with the GOP holding an edge of 59,048

Sunday, we were at 2,580,347, with the GOP holding an edge of 70,415 votes (+2.7%).

On Saturday, it was 2,316,413, with the GOP edge at 74,334 (+2.2)

For comparison, in 2014, right at 2.6 million voters had voted, Republicans had about a 133,000-ballot lead at this point – and led by around 5.2%.  In 2018, the GOP lead was about 20K votes at this point out of just under 4.5 million votes.

Republicans have now returned 61.1% of all their requested ballots, Democrats 52.4%, and NPA’s 48.9.  Statewide, the return rate is 55.8%. 

In total, just over 3.46 million ballots have been requested – again far more than 2014, and more than 2016. 

Here is what is remaining:

Democratic unreturned ballots: 636,840

Republican unreturned ballots: 522,086

NPA unreturned ballots: 372,470

There are nearly 115,000 more Democratic unreturned ballots than Republican ones.  Dear Democrats - if you want to help Andrew Gillum #BringItHome, please #BringItToThePostOffice.

The weekend really helped to bring the electorate more in line with how it should look.  Through Monday’s vote (I won’t get to look at through Tuesday until later today), the electorate is 71.8% white, and 11.3% Black (African American and Caribbean).  The drop of the former is mostly driven by a rise in the latter, as Black participation is now above 2014 and 2016 levels at this point.  Hispanic is around 12%, though this number may be deceptively low, as 41% of the Hispanic vote is from voters who did not participate in 2014 (compared to 26% of the white vote, and 29% of the Black vote).  I will be watching this number through the weekend and wouldn’t be surprised to see it jump to 13-14 quickly.  Worth noting – over 20% of the voters on Sunday were Black.

As I said on Monday, when looking at the ethnicity of who is left to vote, if just the people who voted in 2014 show up to vote between now and Election Day, the Black (reminder, Black voters in Florida include African American, Caribbean, and some Hispanic) vote will land north of 12%.  And again, that is if no one new shows up.  I suspect the Black share will end up right around the Black share of total voter registration, which is just over 13.  I think when all said and done, the white share of the electorate probably lands around 67 or 68, which is a pretty good place for Gillum, and Nelson.

Dems lead Republicans with non-2014 voters by about 40,000, which is good news for the home team. On the flipside, and just to stress this for my Democratic friends – there is real work to be done, as there are well over 200,000 more 2014 Republicans than 2014 Democrats left to vote.  My side needs more infrequent turnout to keep the turnout model in a healthy place.

Turnout has been, in a word, nuts.  There are 37 counties who have already exceeded their entre pre-2014 Election Day vote totals, and 35 who have seen more in-person early voting than in all of 2014.

Statewide, already 25.7% of all registered voters have voted. In 2014, turnout was about 49%.  30.6% of Republicans, 27.7% of Democrats and 16.8% of NPAs have voted.

Turnout is highest in The Villages, where 48% of voters have already cast a ballot.  In total, 8 counties have total turnout over 30% of registered voters.    Just as Republican turnout is outpacing Democratic turnout statewide, it is in most counties, though the Democratic turnout rate is higher in some interesting places, namely Sarasota and St. Johns County, two Republican counties with a higher than average population of college education voters.  St. Johns, one of the most Republican counties in Florida (Northeast Florida, just south of Jacksonville), is an interesting place where Trump did worse than Romney four years earlier.  It isn’t a place that will be close, but like all of Florida, it is a battle over margins.

The places where Republicans are most over-performing tend to be small, with one exception:  Miami-Dade.  Republican turnout is running 6.5% higher than Democratic turnout.  There are reasons for this, namely local Republicans have long had a very effective vote by mail program, specifically in older Cuban communities.  There are also several very competitive down ballot races, where the GOP is running field programs.  For Democrats, you should be very happy that President Obama is making a trip there.  There are roughly 120,000 African American and Caribbean voters, and 150,000 Hispanic voters who voted in 2016 and not 2014 in the Miami media market alone, and that is a universe the former boss is pretty good with.   In 2016, we did see a real “Obama bump” in the markets he visited, and I suspect we will again in Miami over the weekend.

I also want to point out Duval County.  As Democrats there have given up hope with the Jaguars, they have poured their energy into turning out the vote.  Six days out, Democrats hold a 2,500-voter lead in Duval, and it growing a bit daily.   The Republican statewide math is easier if Duval is heavily Republican.  Gillum is aggressively contesting the county, which is very smart.

On the flipside, southwest Florida continues to be on a roll for Republicans.  The market should be about 7% of the statewide vote, but right now it is close to 10%.  Republicans in all three major counties in the Fort Myers media market have turnout north of 40%, some 9-13% higher than the GOP statewide average.  Lee County alone will likely hit 50% total Republican turnout sometime tomorrow.  Honestly, I don’t know why President Trump is visiting here, given that turnout is also juiced.

One last thing.  On Sunday, I had a chance to visit Panama City.  If you have not personally seen the damage from Hurricane Michael, it is hard to put it into words.  The counties most effected by the hurricane make up about 2% of the statewide vote, and as one can expect, turnout there was sluggish at first, but it is coming back to life.  In the most affected counties, about 54,000 voters cast a ballot before election day in 2014.  Today it is about 36,000.  But there are 5 days left, and it is catching up. Bay County, for example, has now seen nearly 14,000 in person early voters, compared to roughly 17,000 in all of 2014.   It is almost a sure thing that despite the storm, more people in Bay County will in-person early vote than they did in the last Governor's race.   This may not be great for my home team, but it is good news, and a testament to the resiliency of the community.

Tomorrow I will take a deeper look at some of the demographics driving the NPAs who are voting, as well as the question of youth voters.   Until then, thank you for reading.

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