Republicans have a panhandle problem, Latinos need to #BringItToThePolls

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.

TOTAL: 4,446,042
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


PS: Highly recommend checking-out Steve Schale, Marc Caputo, and Dan Smith‘s updates. They’re the best at this stuff.


In Florida, the GOP has advantages, but Dems have momentum

Yesterday was another strong day for early voting in Florida. Below is a break-down of the data and key take-aways.


TOTAL: 4,069,596
GOP: 1,689,457 (41.5%)
DEM: 1,630,927 (40.1%)
IND/OTH: 794,212 (18.4%)
Margin: GOP +1.4 pt.; +58,530 voters


The most recent turnout data suggest that Florida’s gubernatorial election is looking more like the 1-point race three polls this week have found than the 6-point or double-digit margins pollsters had been predicting. It could be a +3 Dem election or a +1 GOP win. Nobody knows. Heading into the last weekend of early voting, Republicans maintain a 58,530 voter turnout advantage over the Democrats, but Team Blue has the momentum with gains in Jacksonville and South Florida that are eating into Team Red’s lead.


  • Democrats have the momentum. On Thursday morning, Republicans had a statewide voter turnout advantage of ~63,500. With strong showings in Miami and Gainesville, that lead has been reduced by 5,000 voters as of this morning.
  • Republicans maintain structural advantages. The GOP’s turnout rate is three points higher (36% to 33%) relative to the Democrats. When it comes to the parties’ turnout rates, the Republicans are beating the Democrats 61 of Florida’s 67 counties. Moreover, compared to the Democrats, there are 216,000 more reliable GOP voters who have yet to cast a ballot. Among these, 158,000 voted in 2014. Typically, this has given Republicans an advantage on Election Day.
  • Hurricane Michael is Hurting Republicans. Of the 22 counties where Republicans are under-performing by five points or more their statewide turnout of 36%, 10 of them are in the northwest panhandle zone that was impacted by Hurricane Michael. This is depressing turnout for both parties, though it’s hurting the GOP a little more by reducing its statewide margin by about 3,700 votes at this stage (assuming the turnout rate for both parties in these 10 counties matched their respective statewide turnout percentages). This could be a significant problem for Republicans if the turnout does not pickup in this area over the next few days.
  • Lagging Latino Turnout Continues Being a Problem for Democrats. Florida Hispanics, most of which lean Democrat, are 16.6% of the state’s registered voters, yet make-up just 12% of the voters who have cast a ballot this cycle. This is a problem for Democrats, particularly in southern Florida where they are counting on non-Cuban Hispanics to help make-up for GOP margins in the northern and southwest parts of the state.
  • Cuban Voters May Keep Florida Red. As we’ve been seeing all week, Miami-Dade Republicans, 7 out of 10 of whom are Cuban American, continue outpacing Democrats by 6.5 points (37.1% to 30.6%) when it comes to turnout rates in the state’s most populous county. In recent elections, Democrats have run the tables on Republicans in Miami-Dade (Hillary Clinton and Charlie Crist won the County by 30 and 19 points, respectively). However, with older Cuban American voters turning out in large numbers and poor turnout by other Hispanics, the Miami-Dade electorate is heading into the last weekend of early voting as 44% GOP vs. 34% Democrat, six points short of Team Blue’s voter registration advantage, similar to where it ended up in 2014, and well short of the 15-point lead Democrats had in 2016. If Florida stays in the red column on Election Night, look to the Cuban American vote as one of the reasons.
  • GOP Turnout is Exploding in the Naples Media Market. GOP turnout is at or nearing 50% (14 points higher than the statewide average) in the three largest counties within the Naples / Fort Myers media market. In Lee County (where President Trump held a rally earlier this week in the city of Estero), 50.1% of GOP voters have cast a vote. Meanwhile, over in Charlotte and Collier counties, Republican turnout is at 46% and 49%, respectively.
  • Black Voters are #BringingItHome in Jacksonville. In 2014, 60% of Republicans in Duval County went to the polls, compared to 48% of Democratic voters. The GOP’s 12-point turnout rate advantage has all but collapsed this year. Thirty-two percent of Duval Republicans have cast a ballot thus far, compared with 30% of Democrats. So, what’s the problem? In terms of voter registration, Duval is a Democratic-leaning county. With a strong African-American voter push, Democrats are winning the Duval turnout war by 4,000 voters. Is it possible that GOP voters prefer to cast a ballot on Election Day? Perhaps, but it’s worth noting that in 2014, the same percentage of voters from both parties cast their vote on Election Day. Rick Scott went on to win Duval County that year by 34,000 votes. Nearly 3 out of 10 voters (28%) in Duval are African American. If Mayor Andrew Gillum is elected as the first black governor of Florida, look to his campaign’s success courting African American voters, particularly in the Jacksonville area, as one of the key factors in his victory.


If you’re looking for a clear reading on which way this race is headed, I’ve got nothing for you. The data cut both ways and there isn’t a clear favorite as of today. Democrats are entering the last weekend of early voting with the wind in their sails, but Republicans maintain some structural advantages; are turning out more voters; and have a larger army of reliable voters who have yet to cast a ballot. In the past, Democrats have significantly cut, or even eliminated, GOP leads this weekend, but God has decided to keep this interesting and thunderstorms are expected throughout the state, which could hinder turnout. It’s also unclear how independent voters are breaking, though most polling shows them splitting about even or slightly favoring Gillum. Despite speculation about cross-party voting, recent polling data show Gillum and Ron DeSantis winning +90% of their own party’s voters. All of this points to a race that will be decided by the party that does a better job at turning out its base and padding those margins that seem small, but add up.

If you’re Team Red,
you need to start worrying about the turnout in Jacksonville, keep pushing that Naples area vote, and pay attention to those Central Florida and Gainesville exurbs where your numbers are lagging. Oh, and yeah, start sending thank you notes to older Cubans. #GraciasAbuela

If you’re Team Blue,
keep pushing in Broward and Miami-Dade, thank black voters for #BringingItHome, thank President Obama for holding a rally in Overtown today, and tell non-Cuban Latinos and millennials to #BringItToEarlyVoting or find a Plan B, like not ceding smaller counties.

Have a nice weekend!