October 27, 2014

South Florida's early voting Monday is a warning sign for Rick Scott

@MarcACaputo

Yesterday, something weird happened: early voting was lower Sunday than on Saturday in South Florida's three biggest counties. Miami-Dade saw 6,109 (lower than Tuesday and Wednesday) early voters; Broward was 5,912 (the lowest of the week); Palm Beach 3,377 (the lowest of the week).

So panic settled in among some Democrats because low turnout in Democrat-rich South Florida means Gov. Rick Scott will more than likely be reelected. It was a warning sign for Democrat Charlie Crist.

Today, some opposite weirdness: Gangbusters early vote numbers on Monday (a work day).

Miami-Dade saw 8,153 new early voters (a 33 percent increase); Broward was 8,518 (44 percent); and Palm Beach 7,019 (108 percent). Maybe this a lag in data entry from understaffed county elections supervisors?

Either way, in the interest of balance and accuracy, let's call this a warning sign for Scott. 

We won't know the party breakdown until tomorrow (and, no, the votes for the candidates aren't opened and tabulated until Election Day). But at current rates, there's a good chance Democrats increased their net lead in these three counties by 6,741.

That's just for these three counties. There are 67 counties total.

And it should be noted (as has been done everyday here): Republicans still hold a sizable lead in pre-Election Day ballots. This morning it was 138,572. That's thanks to the GOP's strong voters and the party's absentee-ballot program.

But the GOP lead has been shrinking and, considering today's numbers in the Big Three urban counties, there's a good chance that trend will continue. But there's also a good likelihood that raw early voting numbers will be not continue to climb before the weekend, after which early voting ends before Election Day. Let's call Monday's numbers, and perhaps Sunday's, a blip. 

Rick Scott ahead, but Charlie Crist gaining, in FL's early vote war

@MarcACaputo @adamsmithtimes

The race for Florida governor is tied in the polls, but the past week has brought more good numbers for Democrat Charlie Crist than Gov. Rick Scott.

After the first full week of in-person early voting, Democrats have started to eat into Republicans’ lead in casting pre-Election Day ballots — a margin in the GOP’s favor of 138,000 of more than 1.8 million cast statewide.

In 2010, Republicans led Democrats by 12 percentage points in ballots cast before Election Day, when Scott went on to beat Democrat Alex Sink by just over 1 percent of the vote. As of Monday, the Republican lead for this election was about 7.6 percentage points.

In a sign of how tenuous Scott’s lead appears, the governor reversed course and broke his word not to spend his personal millions on the race. An estimated 10,000 ads attacking Crist and promoting Scott are expected in the final week.

“I think they’re pretty desperate,” Crist said Monday at an early voting rally at Florida International University. “He wouldn’t be spending that kind of money if he wasn’t afraid.”

The actual early and absentee votes won’t be tabulated until Election Day, of course, so it’s impossible to say how many votes each candidate has received so far.

More here

 

Report: Florida leads nation in disenfranchising offenders released from prison

The Sentencing Project has released a report showing that Florida has the highest felony disenfranchisement rate in the country, another issue dividing Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist.

In 2011, Scott and the Cabinet imposed strict new barriers on felons who want to regain the right to vote, tossing out a streamlined policy adopted in 2007 by Crist and a different Cabinet. The discarded policy allowed tens of thousands of nonviolent offenders to regain their civil rights without a time-consuming application and hearing process. Murders and sex offenders were not eligible for faster review under the system approved by Crist and the Cabinet in 2007.

The current policy requires felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentences before applying for civil rights and during that wait they can't have been arrested. Certain classes of violent felons will have to wait seven years to apply.

In the four years under Crist's reforms, 154,000 people had their rights restored, The Tampa Bay Times reported. In the three years under the Scott-era changes, that number has slid to under 1,000 as of mid January.

Here's the Sentencing Project's report:

Washington, DC - As the 2014 midterm elections approach, an estimated 5.85 million Americans will be unable to exercise their voting rights due to a felony conviction. Overall, 75% of disenfranchised individuals are no longer incarcerated. Of this population, 2.6 million have completed their sentences, yet remain disenfranchised in the 12 states with the most restrictive policies.

This year, disenfranchisement policies may affect the outcomes of U.S. elections, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. One in every 13 black adults will be left without a voice in this year's electoral process. Black Americans of voting age are four times more likely to lose their voting rights than the rest of the adult population. More than one in five black adults is disenfranchised in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The following 10 states hold the highest disenfranchisement rates in the United States:


Florida - 10.4%

Mississippi - 8.3%

Kentucky - 7.4%

Virginia - 7.3%

Alabama - 7.2%

Tennessee - 7.1%

Wyoming - 6.0%

Nevada - 4.2%

Arizona - 4.2%

Georgia 3.8%

 

1.8m in FL have voted; Dems win early voting, continue to eat into GOP ballot lead

@MarcACaputo

South Florida in-person early voting turnout might have been relatively lighter than expected this weekend, but Democrats for the first time this election still topped Republicans in pre-Election Day ballot casting at the polls in the entire state.

But, thanks to strong vote-by-mail absentee ballot returns, Republicans still lead Democrats in overall early voting: 138,572 of the more than 1.8 million ballots cast as of this morning. In relative terms, the GOP is up 7.6 percentage points.

Either way, the GOP lead over Democrats has been shrinking. Yesterday it was about 147,000 or 8.4 percentage points.

Continue reading "1.8m in FL have voted; Dems win early voting, continue to eat into GOP ballot lead" »

October 26, 2014

South Florida's early voting weekend is a warning sign for Charlie Crist

@MarcACaputo

Saturday and Sunday marked the first chance for voters to head to the early voting polls on a weekend, a time when Democrats could really show in force and put a big dent in Republicans’ lead in casting pre-Election Day ballots.

But there was no huge surge in Democrat-rich Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Intriguingly in the three counties, the total number of people who early voted Saturday was greater than Sunday – the day when black voters were expected to have the first of two “Souls to the Polls” voting events after church.

Some Democrats are starting to panic. It’s an understandable feeling. Mid-term election turnout in the big three urban counties is historically abysmal, which is a major reason why Republicans hold every statewide elected office but one. 

This is a warning sign for Democrat Charlie Crist. 

Continue reading "South Florida's early voting weekend is a warning sign for Charlie Crist" »

1.75m FL ballots already cast; GOP lead strong -- but slightly slipping to Dems

@MarcACaputo

Nearly 1.75 million Floridians have cast absentee and in-person early votes as of Sunday morning with Republicans still well in front of Democrats when it comes to pre-Election Day voting.

Total GOP lead over Democrats: 147,162, or 8.4 percentage points.

Yesterday's GOP lead was ever-so-slightly larger: 147,186, or about 9.2 percentage points.

Democrats will gloat that they're on a good trajectory and that the Republican margin now is smaller at this time in the election than in 2010. Republicans will take comfort in knowing Democrats are nowhere near their 2012 numbers, that a lead is a lead and that with the first full weekend day of in-person early voting, Democrats are still losing in this category of getting people to the polls.

Sunday's a bigger test, as black churches and activists hold their first "Souls to the Polls" rallies. The bigger one, they say, should be next Sunday -- right before Election Day.

Prior posts on early and absentee voting can be found here. And here are today's numbers by absentee, early vote and both votes combined:

PARTY     EV         %
REP     171,007 42%
DEM     169,088 42%
IND       66,309 16%
TOTAL     406,404  
     
     
     
PARTY       AB's     %
REP     629,492 47%
DEM     484,249 36%
IND     229,515 17%
TOTAL  1,343,256  
     
     
     
PARTY    EVAB      %
REP     800,499 46%
DEM     653,337 37%
IND     295,824 17%
TOTAL  1,749,660  

October 25, 2014

With 1.6m ballots cast, GOP widens lead to 147k but Dems narrow percentage margin

@MarcACaputo

There's a good chance that more than one-fourth of this Florida election's ballots have already been cast now that more than 1.6 million Floridians have early voted either in person or by absentee.

Though it has been cut significantly over the month, Republicans are still holding a big lead over Democrats in pre-Election Day voting: 46-37 percent, or more than 147,000 ballots, a net increase of more than 3,000 ballots since yesterday.

The good news for Democrats: They're lowering the percentage margin by which Republicans lead, from 9.8 percentage points yesterday to 9.2 points today as the state hosts its first weekend of in-person early voting.

Prior posts can be found here, and here are the counts for in-person early votes, absentee votes and both combined:

PARTY      EV      %
REP     133,212 42%
DEM     131,532 42%
IND       50,765 16%
TOTAL     315,509  
     
     
     
PARTY    AB's      %
REP     607,889 47%
DEM     462,383 36%
IND     219,901 17%
TOTAL  1,290,173  
     
     
     
PARTY    EVAB      %
REP     741,101 46%
DEM     593,915 37%
IND     270,666 17%
TOTAL  1,605,682  

October 24, 2014

1.5m votes cast, GOP still leads but Dems have cut advantage-rate in half since Oct. 6

@MarcACaputo

About 1.5 million pre-Election Day ballots had been cast as of Friday morning and the Republican advantage over Democrats is slowly eroding in terms of a percentage advantage.

Yesterday morning, Democrats were down 10.8 percentage points compared to Republican ballots cast. Now, Democrats are down 9.8 percentage points.

That's the first time since votes have been posted Oct. 6 that the Republican advantage has been cut to below 10 points. On Oct. 6, when overseas ballots (mainly military) were coming in, the GOP advantage was 20.5 percentage points.

Now that tomorrow marks the first weekend of early voting (and perhaps the first weekend without rain in Democrat-heavy South Florida) there's a good chance Democrats will -- or should -- close the gap more.

But elections aren't decided on percentage-point gains. They're decided by the number of ballots cast. Votes won't be tallied until Election Day. But the totals by party in ballots cast before then gives us an idea about the strength of each side.

And the GOP is still winning outright: 144,109 more ballots cast than Democrats by absentee and in-person early vote.

That's a small increase of 1.3 percent for the GOP since yesterday, while the total number of ballots cast increased by 11.2 percent.

Here are some dueling memos from the campaigns about turnout (Scott and Crist), background on related posts are here, and here are the numbers as of this morning:

Total early and absentee votes

PARTY    EVAB     %
REP        681,752 46%
DEM        537,643 37%
IND        247,245 17%
TOTAL     1,466,640  

Absentee ballots

PARTY     AB's        %
REP        580,006 47%
DEM        437,926 36%
IND        208,773 17%
TOTAL     1,226,705  

Early vote

PARTY      EV        %
REP        101,746 42%
DEM         99,717 42%
IND         38,472 16%
TOTAL        239,935  

EVAB

 

 

 

Scott campaign memo: The Obama turnout model is a 'pile of rubble' for Charlie Crist

@MarcACaputo

The war of the memos continues. Yesterday, a Charlie Crist advisor made the case that the campaign is on track to turn out pre-Election Day voters. Now its Rick Scott's campaign that's deep-diving the numbers and arguing that it's winning the turnout war on multiple fronts. The memo:

 

Continue reading "Scott campaign memo: The Obama turnout model is a 'pile of rubble' for Charlie Crist" »

October 23, 2014

Steve Schale makes the case that things ain't so bad for Charlie Crist

With Republicans significantly edging Democrats in early and absentee ballots (background here), Charlie Crist adviser Steve Schale is again making the case that Democrats are in a pretty good place:

With three days in the early voting books, lets take a quick look at where we are today in the Florida Governor's race.

I apologize for not writing these daily like the Scott campaign. I continue to be amazed that they have enough time to write daily memos. I barely have time to steal a candy bar from the secret stash of some field organizer in the office.

First, thank goodness the debates are over, and for me the winner was clear: The Omni in Jacksonville was definitely nicer than the Sheraton Suites in Plantation.

Continue reading "Steve Schale makes the case that things ain't so bad for Charlie Crist" »