We’ve entered the last weekend of early voting in Florida with a highly competitive race. The Republicans maintain some structural advantages and a lead in terms of voters who have come out to vote, but Democrats are also turning out in large numbers.
Before I break down the numbers, I’ve created a table to keep track of early voting across the state’s 67 counties. I’ll be updating it every morning.
WHO HAS VOTED IN FLORIDA AS OF THIS MORNING
GOP: 1,835,373 (41.3%)
DEM: 1,778,471 (40.0%)
IND/OTH: 832,198 (18.7%)
Margin: GOP +1.3 pt; +56,902 voters
Democrats and Republicans both had a good showing yesterday with a slight advantage for the former. The GOP held Democratic net gains to a little over 1,600 voters, sending the election into the last weekend of early vote with a 57,000 voter advantage for Team Red. That’s a good position to be in if you’re Team Blue, but you NEED those Latinos to come out and vote or else you’re looking at an electorate that looks a lot more like 2014 than what polling models have suggested. A 2014-ish model is winnable for Democrats, especially with 90%+ numbers among black voters, but it also creates more pathways for the GOP.
- Panhandle Problems for Republicans. Both GOP and Democratic turnout still lags in some parts of Northwest Florida (Calhoun, Santa Rosa, Leon counties, etc.), but it’s starting to become a problem for Republicans because it’s reducing the statewide margin by several thousand votes in a close race.
- Where are the Latino Democrats? The Democrats had another good day in Miami-Dade, but so did Republicans. About 44% of voters who have cast a ballot thus far in Miami-Dade have been Democrats and 33% have been Republicans. This is exactly how it Miami-Dade looked in 2014, which could be problematic for Democrats, so we’ll have to wait and see how this last weekend of early voting turns out for them. Dade Dems need to push out those non-Cuban Hispanic voters to the polls. As of yesterday, Hispanics were just 12% of voters who have cast a ballot across the state, despite being 16% of voters statewide.
- Rick Scott Country is turning out for Ron DeSantis. Republicans continue turning out in huge numbers in the Naples Media Market. Over 50% of GOP voters have cast a ballot in Lee and Collier Counties with Charlotte County expected to hit 50% today. This is +11 points the GOP’s statewide turnout number.
- Duval Dems can #BringItHome for Gillum. Over in Duval County, Democrats continue maintaining a 5,000 voter turnout advantage. If you’re a Republican, you should be worried about this because this is an area that Rick Scott won by 34,000 votes.
Both Congressman Ron DeSantis and Mayor Andrew Gillum have pathways to victory, data that cut against them, and data that cut in their favor. Democrats should have a good weekend of early voting, but as Marc Caputo at Politico has pointed out, there are more historically reliable Republican voters left to cast their ballot on Election Day.
Here’s where it starts getting dicey:
If you’re Team Blue, the polling that shows +1 Gillum this past week does so based on an electorate that’s 16 to 18% Hispanic, but they’re actually only performing at about 12% of the voters thus far. If this doesn’t change and white voters (which DeSantis is winning by 18-19 points) end up being +70% of the electorate, it’ll be a long night. What am I saying? As veteran Democratic strategist Steve Schale has said, Team Blue needs to #BringItToThePolls, especially those Miami-Dade Hispanic Democrats. You’ve tried the chiva bus routine, cool. Plan B: Go full Pavlov and try chicharrones and arepas or something. Trust me on this one. As someone who has driven out of his way more than once to get his hands on those tasty Palacio de los Jugos chunks of fried love, I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that God made pork to get us to do things.
If you’re Team Red, y’all need to find some creative ways of getting those panhandle voters out to the polls. Also, I’m not sure what you’re doing in the Naples media market to get your folks to vote, but you guys are on fire there. Republicans also need to start developing strategies for winning with turnout models where the voters who cast ballots are representative of the state’s demographic landscape. Also, when this is all set and done, send flowers and chocolates to Carlos Curbelo, Maria Elvira Salazar, Vance Aloupis and your other down ballot candidates in the 305 who are keeping things closer than they otherwise would be.
Okay, that is all for now. This is an exciting race, but I have to take my mom to breakfast. #BringHerCroquetas