More than half a million Florida Republicans (534,476) have voted at early-vote precincts and by absentee ballots. The polls officially open Jan. 31.
How many more will show up? Up to 2 million.
If it's less than 2 million, expect Democrats to give Republicans a hard time for not being enthused because 2 million voted in the 2008 early Florida primary. Expect Republicans to respond by noting that there was a property-tax cut on the ballot, so that drove out non-traditional opponents. Expect Democrats to say something about that, and so forth.
The early vote by the GOP does indicate some enthusiasm, however. At this point relative to the 2008 elections, Florida Republicans have cast more total ballots.
Regardless, it's a lot.
In New Hampshire, 248,000 people voted in the primary. In Iowa, about 122,000 voted in the caucuses. Add them together and they're about 163,000 less than Florida Republicans before the official Election Day. It's about a 44 percent difference. South Carolina's total primary vote exceeds Florida's early ballots by about 67,000.
Here are the bottom-line stats from Republican Party of Florida's spokesman Brian Hughes:
534,476 total votes cast so far before Election Day. About 46,000 more than the total early ballots cast for the comparable period prior to Election Day ‘08
Expected turnout: 1.5 million to 2 million
502,944 absentees requested, almost 200,000 more than ‘08
294,751 absentee ballots voted so far, about 50,000 more than in ’08. This number should increase before polls close
239,725 voted early, slightly less than ‘08