The polls will open in less than a half hour, and already Democrat Alex Sink has to play catchup. Republican Rick Scott and his party outdid themselves in getting out the early and absentee vote, getting nearly 1.1 million Republican ballots cast before today. About 815,000 Democrats cast early and absentee ballots.
Total GOP lead: 271,000 votes. But not all those went to Scott (just like not all Dem ballots went to Sink). And then there's the matter of the nearly 320,000 indpendents/no-party-affiliation voters.
So what's the lead? We averaged the last three poll results and applied the percentages to each candidate. So Sink got about 82, 12 and 48 percent of the Democrat, Republican and independent votes, respectively. Scott got 10, 80 and 38 percent of the Democrat, Republican and independent votes, respectively. Apply those to the ballots cast and Scott is up 112,000, or 5 percentage points.
Note: the formula about doesn't apportion all the ballots cast to Sink and Scott because, together, the polls show they don't get 100 percent of the vote due to undecided voters and those who opt for a third-party candidate. That leaves about 200,000 more ballots cast that could be up for grabs.
Also, early/absentee votes will likely account for about 42 percent of the total votes cast this election. So there's lots of voting to be done today. Still, the pressure's on Sink to scrap on and turn out her vote. Scott has to hang on as he turns out his.