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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Early voting math: Sink campaign holding out hope for turnout that matches or exceeds 2006



Alex Sink's pollster Dave Beattie said the key to the Democrat's win against Rick Scott tonight is Democratic turnout. To that end, the Democratic Party has injected the most resources it has ever devoted to a statewide campaign. They are targeting voters in low turnout areas through phone calls and offering rides to the polls.

Republicans showed up to vote in absentee and early voting in higher number than Democrats, leaving an estimated 3.3 million Republicans left to vote and 4.3 million Democrats still not voting. To overcome the gap, the Sink campaign is hoping for another one or two percent of voters to show up at the polls, matching or exceeding the 47 percent of registered voters who turned out in the 2006 mid-term elections when Gov. Charlie Crist beat Democrat Jim Davis. By contrast, turnout in 2002 when was 51 percent when Gov. Jeb Bush defeated Sink's husband, Bill McBride.

"The higher the turnout the better for us becuase there are so many Democrats who haven't vote,'' Beattie said. "Democrats don't need a record high turnout. They need to match 2006, which was a record low."

Beattie predicted that Sink will do better with Republicans than any Democrat has done in the state since Lawton Chiles drew Republican voters in 1994 and, unlike Democrats across the country, he said she is also appealing to independents.

But Sink is prepared for the nail-biter that has characterized the race for the last two months to continue.

"We're not gritting our teeth bracing for a recount but there are things that could lead that way,'' Sink told reporters at campaign party headquarters Tuesday. She said that her campaign is getting anecdotal reports that Democratic turnout is higher than expected and that Republicans are crossing over in significant numbers to vote for Sink.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 6:22pm]


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