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4 Days Out - Florida Man is Crushing This Voting Thing

To:       Fans of Fridays and Dogs

From:   Steve Schale

Date:    Nov 2, 2018

We are on the verge of one of the most exciting weekends each fall:  the bye week – the week where the Jaguars are guaranteed not to lose. 

This year, that occasion coincides with the final weekend of early voting, if there is anyone left to vote.  Florida Man and Florida Woman are crushing this voting thing like it was a Natty Light can run over by a monster truck at the county fair. 

Eclipsing the 4 million vote number, yesterday was the second biggest day in terms of total votes coming in the door, and the biggest day of in-person early voting.  Democrats narrowly won both, leading to about a +5,000-voter day.

Total votes: 4,068,596

Republicans: 1,689,457

Democrats: 1,630,927

NPA/Minor: 749,212

Republican edge is 58,530 (+1.4%)

Yesterday we were at 3.724m votes, with GOP edge of 63,537 (+1.7%)

On Monday it was 2,726,392 (+2.2%) with the GOP holding an edge of 59,048.  So yes, people are voting – but all people are voting.  In other words, about 1.4 million voters have voted, just this week.   This week, the most dangerous place in America is between Florida Man and a voting booth. 

Roughly 1.1 million more voters than this day in 2014 have cast a ballot.  For comparison, in 2014, right at 2.96 million voters had voted, Republicans had about a 125K -ballot lead at this point – and led by around 4.2%.   

Statewide turnout is now 30.6%.  Among Republicans, it is 36.1%, among Democrats, it is 33%, and among NPA, it’s up to 20.5%.

The latter data point is very important – as we saw in 2016, NPA voters are picking up late, and this is important for one big reason:  The bigger the NPA share of the electorate, the less of Democrats need to win them by (as a percentage), because their vote weight becomes bigger.  For example, if there are 7.25 million voters, and Gillum wins NPA by 8.  If NPA equals 18% of all Florida voters, his margin from NPA is about 100,000.  At 21% of all Florida voters, it goes up to roughly 125,000.   Today it is at 18.4, but that has grown from 17.7% on Monday. 

Republicans have now returned 64.3% of all their requested ballots, Democrats 57.2%, and NPA’s 52%.  Statewide, the return rate is 58.9%. 

And therefore, Republicans have a turnout lead.

53% of the electorate to date is vote by mail, and the GOP has a 65,927-voter lead).  Of the 47% of all ballots in that were cast in-person early, Democrats hold a 7,397-ballot lead.

In total, just over 3.48 million ballots have been requested – again far more than 2014, and more than 2016. 

Here is what is remaining:

Democratic unreturned ballots: 554,058

Republican unreturned ballots: 438,996

NPA unreturned ballots: 328,226

115K more of you Democrats need to #BringItToThePolls – because we are getting into the window where the mail starts getting dicey.  You can probably mail it today, but since the future of the state kind of depends on it, you might want to drop that bad boy off in person.

Black turnout continues to drive the shifting demographic make-up of the electorate.  Black share of the electorate is now about 12.2%, well above 2014 and 2016 at this point, and nearly at where 2016 was going into Election Day.  Hispanic share has remained flat all week, at about 12%, and right now, there are more Black voters than Hispanic voters.  What is interesting, Hispanics are disproportionally newer voters:  about 44% of Hispanics to date did not vote in the 2014 election, compared to about 30% among all voters so far.  I do think this will change into the weekend.  White is still just over 70%, though I still think it lands in the 67-68% range.  Overall, turnout among Black voters is 27.6%, and among Hispanics, it is 22.2%.  

One thing on Hispanics – turnout among possible Maria migrants is fairly low.  I was always skeptical of the fallout from the storm really changing the math.  That being said, Hispanic, and specifically Puerto Rican turnout over the next four days could very much impact this race.

Democrats should win the remaining days – though Republicans did have a good Friday last week.  I think this deal gets close to parity – but not quite at parity by Election Day, but reminder, there are a lot of more Republican 2014 voters left to vote on Election Day.

That being said, both sides are cannibalizing their own Election Day vote.  To date, there are slightly more Republican 2014 Election Day voters than Democratic 2014 Election Day voters who have voted, but the bigger story is the scale of things, roughly 17% of early voters this year voted on Election Day in 2014.  This is one reason why I think turnout is going to be record in number, and certainly higher in percentage than 2014, but  not crazy high – as a lot of our growth has come from people just voting earlier.  Minus those voters, Florida is more like 3.4-3.5 million voters to date, which is still forward leaning, but not as much as what the topline number suggests.

I don’t think we add another million voters over the closing few days, but we probably get to 5,000,000 votes going into Election Day.  By comparison, just over 6 million voted in 2014. I still think turnout is around 7.25 million – and maybe a bit more, but honestly, I haven’t had as much time to really dig into that question this week.  That is today/tomorrow’s project.

What is interesting, there aren’t a lot of red flags for either side in the data.  Turnout rates SW Florida are very strong for Republicans, as they are in some of the counties around Tampa and Orlando where Trump really ran up the score. They are arguably a little down in the Panhandle – and not just the Michael counties, but that is normal, as a lot of those smaller counties have more Election Day voting.

For Democrats, turnout in the bigger counties looks very good, though I’d like to see more in Dade from Democratic voters. Broward is closing in on 30% turnout, but only hit 44 in 2014.   Also, Democratic turnout in some of the Republican counties with higher populations of college educated voters is also strong – Dem turnout is higher than Republican turnout in St. Johns, and Sarasota, and close to parity in Seminole. 

So lastly, the question I get on twitter all the time how does Gillum or Nelson win if more Republicans vote than Democrats?

Right now, I think a turnout model where the electorate is 2% more GOP than Democrat is a pretty fair place to peg it, given the number of GOP super voters left to vote.  If we have 7.25 million votes, that is 150,000 more Republicans than Democrats casting a ballot.

So, if you believe the polling, Gillum is winning a few more points of Republicans than Democrats, and winning NPAs.

Let’s assume the final electorate is 41 R – 39 D – 20 NPA (it may be higher than this), and Gillum wins just 2% more Republicans than DeSantis wins Democrats – and he wins the NPAs by 8.  I think both of these assumptions are conservative, and realistic.

What happens:  Gillum wins by about 1.5%. 

There is a long way to go, but if the polling is right, the electorate is molding into shape for Gillum to bring it home.

Now if he, or frankly anyone, could just play quarterback for the Jaguars.

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