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3m FL ballots already cast; Dems open 59,000 early ballot lead over GOP. Is it enough for Obama?

More than 3 million Floridians have already voted, according to new early and absentee ballot (EVAB) numbers that show Democrats continue to add to their total lead over Republicans: about 59,000.

Democrats have cast 133,000 more early votes, Republicans cast about 74,000 more absentee ballots. That could be as much as a third of the electorate. (Totals below)

But is it enough for President Obama? In 2008, Obama had about a 280,000 cumulative early vote lead before the polls opened on Election Day. At the current rate of growth, it would take Obama nine more days to get there. But that would be Nov. 13, a week after the election. And early in-person voting ends Saturday.

Guess who cut early voting days? Republicans. In 2008, including an executive order from Gov. Charlie Crist, polls stayed open a cumulative 120 hours over 14 days. The Legislature and current Gov. Rick Scott cut those days to eight and capped cumulative hours at 96. Republicans point out that the new early voting law gives the right for early voting on weekends. But in South Florida, where a quarter of early voters cast ballots, citizens had two Sundays of early voting. Now they have only one.

There have been long lines, cries of disenfranchisement and even a "nightmare" of a problem for early voters. Democrats want Scott to exend early voting. Scott probably won't. Story is here.

The problems and the data also cast some doubt on how great the Obama "ground game" really is. When Miami Herald reporters went to the polls with problems yesterday, there was no visible Obama campaign presence, no staffers helping shuttle voters to the polls or providing a service to help those in North Miami get to, say, Miami Beach or downtown Miami, where wait times are so much shorter.

With a $1 billion campaign effort and all the talk of organization, wouldn't they provide a few shuttles in the most-crowded, most-Democratic and most-important (for Obama's sake) area of the state?

The Republicans have been crowing about the relative problems for Obama in 2012 compared to 2008. But Obama 2012 is not running against Obama 2008. He's running against Mitt Romney 2012. And the numbers re still show Republicans are losing the early vote. And, techincally, if the trend stays like this, that means Mitt Romney loses Election Day in Florida and therefore entirely loses his shot at the White House.

Polls, however, show Romney would win Election Day voters. But if the folks who can't vote early show up Election Day, forget the polls. Then again, polls also indicate independents are siding more with Romney. And North Florida Democrats often vote Republican.

Obama's campaign has been saying all along that the polls of likely voters are missing their voters whom they're turning out. But if you head to the polls now, it looks like those folks are their all on their lonesome, without any Obama ground-game crew to help them.

Early vote:

Party      EV Total           %
DEM     636,926 46%
REP     504,068 37%
IND     230,570 17%
Total  1,371,564

Absentee:

Party      AB Total            %
REP     734,084 44%
DEM     659,882 39%
IND     286,430 17%
Total  1,680,396

EVAB:

Party    EVAB Total            %
DEM  1,296,808 42%
REP  1,238,152 41%
IND     517,000 17%
Total  3,051,960

Comments

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Mike

Mark-
I am part of that volunteer ground game. Thousands of us canvass, phone bank and hand out literature daily.
The notion that somehow that Obama has no ground game is patently untrue and offensive.

Mike

Also, yesterday's Quinnipiac poll said Obama is leading early vote in Florida 50-44, which means Obama is winning independents.
Ooops!

Dan Marino

Way too much drama being stirred up here. Early voting is just an extension of Election Day, it does not replace it. The polling averages are extremely accurate, there is no Red Wave or Blue Wave coming on Election Day, this sucker is a coin flip.

SAR

In 2008, the party registration split of early votes (absentee + in-person) was D46, R37 (D+9) and Mr. Obama won the state by 3 points.

http://elections.gmu.edu/early_vote_2008.html

So the current D42, R41 (D+1) split is not favorable for Mr. Obama.

Also note that today's numbers are worse for Obama than yesterday's on a percentage basis--D42, R41 now versus D43, D41 yesterday. Obama's early voting push was front-loaded and has clearly lost momentum.

The Quinnipiac poll (sponsored by CBS and the New York Times) that Mike cites above shows Obama with a 1-point lead, but sampled 37% Democrats and only 30% Republicans--a view of the electorate that, based on past history and what were seeing in early voting, has no basis in reality.

SAR


Finally, Mr. Caputo's contention that if the trend stays like this Obama will win FL is absurd. Even if the Democrats were to maintain their nominal advantage in terms of party registration of voters through election day, most polls show that Romney will get more cross-over votes than Obama and is handily winning independents. That means that on the current trajectory FL would be in Romney's column.

CB8421

Do we have any idea what the split in registered voters is by party now vs 2008? Has there been a shift from Dem to Rep?

Clint_cooper

@CB8421 the split is roughly the same as it was in 2008, something like 41% Dem and 36% Rep.

It looks like Dems will have about an 80 to 90 thousand vote lead going into election day.

Last time, they led by 280,000 ballots going into election day and Obama won by 234,000 actual votes when all the votes were counted.

This time, it's incredibly hard to predict. Romney will win Indies in Florida, but by how much? It's just difficult to say. If Obama can hold down his losses by, say, five points among Indies, then he can win Florida.

I guess I would say Florida will be the last state to be called for either candidate. My feeling is that Obama still takes it by about 5,000 votes, but it's probably going to take provisionals to push him over the top.

One thing is for sure: If the Romney campaign felt they had more than a 2-3 point lead in the state Romney wouldn't be campaigning in Florida, which is what he's doing right now.

Aaron Sands

You keep citing this Obama +9 in early voting and then Obama +3 final tally on election day, but you're misusing the data. Even if the election days totals were completely even the Obama +9 would flatten out based on simple math since the same margin is divided by a larger total.

The proper comparison is not to look at it in terms of percentages, but in terms of actual votes. In 2008, Obama had a lead of about 360,000 (+8.6% in early voting) votes heading into election day. Obama won the state by about 240,000 votes (2.7% lead out of all total votes). That means Republicans won election day by about 120,000 votes which is the relevant number here if you are trying to project the 2008 totals into 2012.

That means the state of the race is that Obama is ahead by around 59,000 votes, and Republicans won election day in 2008 by 120,000 votes. If everything went according to plan and Republicans won election day by the same margins, Romney would win Florida by about 61,000, or about 2/3rds of 1%. However, there's 2 caveats there.

1) There is a huge X-factor with 3rd party candidates. Polling indicates that third party candidates are siphoning about 1% of the vote away from Romney. Out of an estimated 9 million voters in Florida, that's 90,000 votes. If Republicans win election day by the same margin as 2008, and a third party candidate gets 1% of the vote from Romney, Obama would win Florida by about 29,000 votes.

2) It's impossible to predict. We're making assumptions on how many votes third party candidates will take from Romney. We're making assumptions that election day margins will remain the same as in 2008. What if third party candidates only get 40,000 votes from Romney, then Romney wins the state and how can anyone accurately predict how many people will vote for third party candidates? We can't.

You can falsely manipulate percentages to make it seem like Romney is ahead, which is fine, it's just not accurate at all. Obama is definitely behind his 2008 totals, but he doesn't need to win by 240,000 votes, he only needs to win by 1 so right now the actual state of the race is this:

Obama is ahead by about 59,000 votes.
Republicans won election day in 2008 by 120,000 votes.
A third party candidate could siphon off +/- 90,000 votes from Romney.

That means, for all intents and purposes, the race is TIED right now. There's literally no data whatsoever indicating an advantage for one candidate over the other in the state of Florida based on these numbers. Whoever wins Florida will likely do it by a very small margin, so the moral of the story is GO VOTE as every vote is going to count in this election.


Mike

Hello? The democratic registration is 5,5 million to republican registration of 4.1 million.
It's all about turnout baby.
Turnout favors the President as he only has 101 offices and ten thousand volunteers, Romney has the super pac, so their is that!

Raul

Mike,

According to Division of Elections the break-down between Democrats & Republicans is more like:
Dems - 4,782,000 (rounded)
Reps - 4,246,000 (rounded)

The Dem advantage is nowhere near the 1.4 million you state.

Severus

SAR

37% Dem, 30% R is the exact electorate currently. In FL, it's actually 14 pts, double the national electorate divide.

Second, going on this current trajectory, Obama will win FL by a few 1000 votes. Also, the Election day Obama campaign turnout operation will be just as strong.

Sirton

Now put the adjustments in from the polls D/R/I%'s:

Most polls put Obama getting 85-88%D/ 8-10%R/ 52%I

Adjust the early votes to the lower lvl of those percentages and Romney is up by at least 50,000 votes already. Looks like Florida maybe going Romney :(

Sirton

Now put the adjustments in from the polls D/R/I%'s:
Most polls put Obama getting 85-88%D/ 8-10%R/ less than 48%I
Romney is getting 12-16%D(2008 Mcain got 12%)/ 90-92%R (2008 Obama got 12%)/ more than 52%I
Adjust the early votes to the lower lvl of those percentages and Romney is up by at least 50,000 votes already. Looks like Florida maybe going Romney :(

LesG

Aaron Sands:

Excellent analysis. Most of the pro-Romney commenters ignore statistical vote analysis, and actual comparisons betw 2008 & 2012 -- & focus instead on whatever Fox News is spouting.

Marc Caputo should be paying attn to the analysis that you wrote to help his own fairly meager analysis.

Have to admit, though, that his question asking why the Obama organization in FL hasn't hired buses to take Obama voters to less crowded Miami Beach election centers is pretty much spot-on.

Have to admit, thoug

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