Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats crushing Republicans on sporadic Fla voters in early voting



A trusted Democratic operative sent us some data on the early and absentee ballot vote in Florida so far to make the point that Barack Obama is crushing Mitt Romney when it comes to banking the votes of sporadic and infrequent voters before election day. So far more than 3 million Floridians have cast a ballot by absentee, mail-in ballot or in-person early vote ballot. Democrats lead by more than 60,000 votes, but it's the unlikely voter numbers that jump out:

Of the nearly 414,000 Floridians who did not vote in the last three general elections, Democrats have an advantage of more than 53,000 votes. Of the more than 482,000 Floridians who have only voted in one of the last three general elections, Democrats lead by more than 77,000 - a total of more than 132,000.

So what does this mean?

Republicans convincingly note that Obama's early/absentee vote advantage is falling short of where it was four years ago, when the state allowed more early voting days (advantage Democrats), and Obama went into election day with a lead of about 280,000 early and absentee votes. John McCain won election day voting but lost Florida by about 236,000 votes.

"In 2008, the Democrats collected almost 83,000 early votes at EV sites.,'' noted Orange County GOP Chairman Lew Oliver. "With just 3 days left in early voting in 2012, the Democrats are at less than 34,000 total votes at EV sites.  It is very very difficult to see how they can get anywhere near their 2008 EV totals, notwithstanding that they have actually ADDED nearly 30,000 more registered voters."

We chatted with Ashley Walker, director of the Florida Obama campaign, about this:

"This isn't 2008. We don't have 15 days of early vote. We have 8 days, and so it's a different race," Walker said. "When you really dig down and start looking at at these numbers in who is turning out with these vote-by-mail numbers and early vote numbers, more of our sporadic, irregular voters than theirs by a three-to-one margin. And that means we have more old faithfuls to come out on election day. I'm not going to try to bullshit you - it's a tight race, it's a really close race, but any spin they're trying to feed you that we're behind where we were in 2008 is just spin....It's a totally different race. The opportunities and the rules of the game are totally different."

Q: But aren't the rules of the game (shortened early voting hours) working against you?

Walker: They're not. They tried to stack up the rules of the game against voter registration. We ran the largest voter registration effort this state has ever seen. They decided to decrease early vote so that they have more of an emphasis on vote-by-mail,and we played on their playing field and cut into their margin. And now each day we're stacking up votes on early voting, and we're turning out more of their sporadic voters than they are."

Q: Isn't it fair to assume that Romney, that the Republican nominee, will again win Florida on election day?

Walker: No, absolutely not. This race is tight. This is a very, very tight race. That's not spin. If it wasn't a tight race Romney would not be here all week. They wouldn't be scouting out locations for event on Monday. If they had it locked up, they would be in states where they don't have it locked up because there are plenty of them that they are still trying to cut into our edge."



[Last modified: Thursday, November 1, 2012 6:39pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours