GOP enthusiasm edge in Fla: 275,000
Polls show a neck-and-neck gubernatorial race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink, but here's one number that has to make Sink more than a little anxious: 275,000.
Of the more than 1.9 million Floridians who had voted through Friday, nearly 275,000 more Republicans than Democrats had cast their votes either by absentee ballot or at an early voting site. No, we don't know how those people voted, and a Mason-Dixon poll last found that Scott was drawing significantly fewer Republican — and Democratic — votes than Republicans Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush did in their gubernatorial campaigns.
Still, those are ominous numbers for Florida Democrats, who clearly have a major enthusiasm gap. At this point in 2006, Republicans had a lead of just 145,000 early and absentee votes. Four days out in 2008, Republicans trailed Democrats in votes already cast by nearly 563,000 voters. Remember how Democrats tend to have an advantage in early votes? Republicans had a lead of more than 56,000 early over Democrats in early voting through Friday, whereas they were trailing Democrats at this point in 2006 by 9,700 in in 08 by more than 486,000.
"Somewhere in Florida (Saturday), the 2 millionth person cast their ballot in Florida and the 1 millionth Republican did," said Republican consultant David Johnson, noting that Democrats account for roughly 35 percent of the votes cast to date and independents about 15 percent.
"It bodes well for Republicans up and down the ballot," said Johnson, who is working on the state party's early and absentee voting program. "Rick Scott is going into Election Day with a significant lead, no question about it."