John McCain's deputy campaign manager Christian Ferry wins the fuzzy math award with this near lie: That "John McCain and the Republicans have an advantage in the combined total" of early voting.
By the campaign's logic, merely asking for an absentee ballot is a "method of voting." So when you add up absentee ballot requests, absentee ballots cast and early votes cast, yes, the McCain campaign has a 201,472 edge, according to Florida data pulled by George Mason University's Michael P. McDonald.
The reality is, you can't count a vote that isn't cast. Otherwise, if the mere act of showing one's intention to vote is a vote for one's party, Barack Obama would already win Florida because Democratic registrations outpace Republican ones by 658k.
So when actual absentee and early ballots CAST are counted, Democrats have the actual lead: 248,179.
Then there's this potential whopper from Ferry:
"The overall turnout is way up in all three of these various methods of voting [again it's two methods], what you’re not seeing is a different make-up, a composition of the pie when it comes to demographics or party ID. It is not significantly different, when you break it down, then what you saw in 2000 and what you saw in 2004. A couple of examples to share, if you look at Florida...."
Not true, according to our preliminary analysis of the 2004 state data that shows African-American voters are now flooding the polls. The data, though, is incomplete. However, McDonald had analyzed the numbers and said the state has changed.
"African Americans are turning out in droves. Normally, they’re low-propensity voters. Not these days. This election is a departure. The demographics are definitely different on the early vote. It’s much more Democratic. In 04, Early Voters nationwide were 60-40 Bush. This election, it’s 60-40 Obama. Florida is a little bit of an exception, though, that’s the asterisk. There’s a greater mix with Republicans in absentee vote. In Florida, you have a better mix. I actually believe the numbers that McCain is not losing as badly in Florida compared with other states.
The Republicans started out front, as the Early Vote totals wrack up, the differences are almost 1 million to 600,000 (in Florida) It’s almost 2:1 in Democratic registration in early vote and, while the Republicans are winning the absentees, it’s not enough to keep pace. As time goes on, more and more people are Early Voting at the polling places. At one point, there were more absentee ballots going in. At the very beginning, the McCain campaign announced it was winning the Early Vote in Florida. We’re seeing here and every other state a lopsided margin of Democrats showing up to vote in person."
Ferry cited numerous statistics that he said showed "across the board" in a number of states "the percentages are very consistent with what we've seen before."
We asked the McCain campaign for its data, but it refused to provide the numbers. Go figure.