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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Early vote numbers should have Florida Democrats spooked on this Halloween




Looking at the votes cast so far in Florida on this Halloween day, it's clear Democrats should be spooked. Well, so should Republicans for that matter, since the voting so far points to a razor-thin, too close to call race. A few weeks ago Democrats had every reason to cheer (and Republicans to groan) Democratic improvement in mail voting, today it's clear Democrats still have a lot of vote chasing to do.

Four years ago, Democrats led by about 13,000 in ballots cast at this point, whereas today Republicans lead by nearly 9,000 votes. The great news for Hillary Clinton/lousy news for Donald Trump is that the Hispanic vote has soared -- as in nearly 100 percent -- since four years ago. The bad news for Clinton/good news for Trump is that African-Americans and millenials are voting considerably lighter -- so far - than four years ago.

"Right now, the GOP is ahead of where I thought they would be – albeit not by a lot," Democrat Steve Schale wrote in his excellent analysis of where stuff stands. It doesn’t mean Trump or Clinton is winning – nope, it means it is a dog fight for turnout.  So if you want your candidate to win, go to the local field office and get to work.

For the first time in six weeks, Trump today leads in the average of Florida polls, 44.8 to 44.3 percent.

Ryan Tyson, vice president of political operations for Associated Industries of Florida, said AIF's polls have consistently shown Clinton narrowly leading Trump in Florida by an average of 3%, but the votes cast early and by mail to date show lower than expected participation with groups that are key to her winning in Florida. 

"The pivotal demographics that were the cornerstone for how President Obama won by .9 percent, or 74,000 votes, was strength in turnout by African-Americans, millenials and Hispanics," Tyson said. Hillary has never enjoyed the same level of enthusiasm as the President did with these groups.  I wouldn't say Democrats are sweating bullets today, I would say they're hoping for better weather down south and thinking, 'We've got work to do these next eight days.' "


[Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2016 2:02pm]


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