November 04, 2012

4.3 million Florida early ballots in, Dems extend lead over GOP to 133,000 pre-Election Day votes

More than 4.3 million Florida votes are already in before Election Day and Democrats used the last full official day of in-person early voting to extend their lead over Republican ballots cast by 133,000, according to this morning's figures.

In all, about 36 percent of registered voters have cast ballots and about 48 of likely voters have.

That means wait times at polling stations on Election Day will be much shorter than the early vote wait times that have plagued South Florida for the past eight days. Tens of thousands of more early votes, by way of absentee ballots, are still flowing in and a few thousand (but not tens of thousands) more will come by way of in-person absentee ballots cast at some election supervisors' offices in select counties, such as Miami Dade (more here on that).

Early voting was shortened in 2012 compared to 2008, and the numbers are smaller.

According to George Mason University's United States Elections Project (which tracks early voting) about 2.6 million in-person early votes were cast in 2008 over 14 days in Florida. This year, after the GOP-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Scott cut the days to eight, it's 2.3 million. But absentee ballot voting is stronger. In 2008, 1.7 million cast absentee ballots and this year the number is 2 million.

Guess which type of voting Republicans specialize in? Absentee ballots. Democrats do better at in-person early voting. Though more fraud-prone, absentee ballot voting wasn't touched in the election law Scott signed that shortened early voting days.

In all, Republicans have cast 87,000 more absentee ballots than Democrats. Democrats have cast 220,000 more in-person early votes.

Using the GMU numbers (and there are other numbers that differ from them), Democrats had a cumulative lead as high as 363,000 ballots in 2008, or about 8 percentage points. Now, that Democrat lead has been cut to 3 points, or 133,000 -- and not just because of the shortened early voting period.

There's a sense of diminished Democratic enthusiasm for the president compared to 2008. And the Democrats actually lost more voters between 2008 and 2012 than Republicans and the Democratic Party grew at a slower pace (this was before Scott's voter bill was signed in 2011). Our latest analysis of those 2008 voters who remain on the rolls now shows the Democrat early ballot/pre-Election Day lead would be only 282,000 if the presidential election four years ago were held with the current electorate.

Also of note: a Miami Herald poll indicated Romney gets more crossover votes than Obama and is winning the early vote anyway.

Here are today's numbers for early votes:

Party             EV total            %
DEM          1,052,061 46%
REP             831,456 36%
IND             414,889 18%
Total          2,298,406

Absentee votes:

Party            AB Total             %
REP             871,239 43%
DEM             784,117 39%
IND             355,824 18%
Total          2,011,180

Cumulative EVAB totals

Party          EVAB total            %
DEM          1,836,178 43%
REP          1,702,695 40%
IND             770,713 18%
Total          4,309,586

For other posts on the EVAB numbers and voting issues, click here

November 03, 2012

About 4 million early FL ballots cast -- and growing. Ds leading Rs by 104,000

About 4 million early votes were cast by Floridians by Saturday morning, the last day of early voting, which looks like it will be a heavy-turnout day.

Democrats have steadily increased their margins, leading Republicans now by about 187,000 early in-person ballots cast as of this morning. Republicans led Democrats by 84,000 absentee ballots cast.

Net Democratic advantage: 104,000, a lead that grows with each day of early voting.

Total number of early voters through Friday: More than 353,000. That's more than 2 million ballots cast in a week.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has refused to extend early voting into the Sunday before Election Day, an early vote time that he and the GOP Legislature specifically eliminated after President Obama in 2008 turned out massive numbers of Democrats to help beat Republican John McCain. Scott's law also shortened early voting days from 14 to eight and, relative to the extra hours approved by then-Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008, has effectively ensured that urban Democratic counties, such as those in South Florida, have a cumulative 24 fewer hours to vote compared to four years ago.

Turnout this year has hit record highs during early voting, which haven't been glitch-free (for background on turnout issues and other early and absentee ballot data click this Florida Voters link to access past posts).

The number of total early voters is so high that there's a chance almost 50 percent of the electorate will have voted before Election Day (there are 12 million registered voters, but about 75 percent -- or 9 million -- typically show). Right now, about 44 percent of the 9 million likely voters have already cast their ballots.

Our latest poll shows President Obama is losing Florida overall to Mitt Romney, 45-51 percent. But Obama is carrying South Florida. And if South Florida overperforms on Election day (along with urban Democratic-heavy counties like Orange and Hillsborough), he can certainly carry Florida.

The early vote numbers:

Party         EV Total             %
DEM         928,205 46%
REP         740,674 37%
IND         357,750 18%
Total       2,026,629

Absentee votes:

Party          AB Total            %
REP         821,394 44%
DEM         737,620 39%
IND         328,736 17%
Total       1,887,750

Total early votes:

Party    Early Totals             %
DEM       1,665,825 43%
REP       1,562,068 40%
IND         686,486 18%
Total       3,914,379

 

Sen. Bill Nelson and Obama's campaign sound like they disagree about early vote hurdles in FL

When the GOP Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott cut the number of early voting days in Florida, it clearly targeted one of the Democrats' favorite methods of voting (background here).

Now, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is joining other Democrats and liberal groups in calling on Scott to extend early voting into Sunday -- a day specifically eliminated by Scott when he signed HB 1355 in 2011.

"Combined with too few polling locations and a lack of adequate parking at many of them, an untold number of Floridians may be deprived of an opportunity to vote," Nelson wrote in a letter he just sent to Scott, mainly referencing reports in The Miami Herald.

It seems President Obama's campaign, however, disagrees.

Here's what Florida manager Ashley Walker told The Tampa Bay Times when asked if "the rules of the game (shortened early voting hours) are working against you?"

Walker: "They're not. They tried to stack up the rules of the game against voter registration. We ran the largest voter registration effort this state has ever seen. They decided to decrease early vote so that they have more of an emphasis on vote-by-mail,and we played on their playing field and cut into their margin. And now each day we're stacking up votes on early voting, and we're turning out more of their sporadic voters than they are."

**Update: The Obama campaign says Walker's comments are being taken out of context when juxtaposed with Nelson's in this case.

Said spokesman Eric Jotkoff: "“There is no disagreement here. Our campaign and Senator Nelson are on the same page. As we have made very clear, we support any efforts to make it easier for eligible Floridians to vote.  There has been record turnout at Early Voting sites across the state showing the huge enthusiasm. Yesterday alone, 343,000 Floridians made their voices heard in this election by going to Early Vote and today all signs point to another day of record turnout.”

 Another aspect worthy of discussion: the press release from Nelson's office saying that he's "seeking to avoid a chaotic Election Day Tuesday."

Continue reading "Sen. Bill Nelson and Obama's campaign sound like they disagree about early vote hurdles in FL" »

November 02, 2012

Miami Herald FL Poll: Romney 51%-Obama 45%

Mitt Romney has maintained a solid lead over President Barack Obama in the latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely voters who favor the Republican by six percentage points.

Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Romney’s crossover appeal is fueled by strong support in rural North Florida, a conservative bastion where a relatively high percentage of Democrats often vote Republican in presidential election years.

“I’m pretty convinced Romney’s going to win Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, who conducted the 800-likely voter survey from Tuesday through Thursday.

“Will it be fivepoints? Maybe. Will it be three points? Possibly,” Coker said, of what he expects Romney’s margin will be. “I don’t think it’s going to be a recount … I don’t think we’re going to have a recount-race here.”

Continue reading "Miami Herald FL Poll: Romney 51%-Obama 45%" »

Miami Herald FL Poll: Romney 51%-Obama 45%

Mitt Romney has maintained a solid lead over President Barack Obama in the latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely voters who favor the Republican by six percentage points.

Romney’s strengths: independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Romney’s crossover appeal is fueled by strong support in rural North Florida, a conservative bastion where a relatively high percentage of Democrats often vote Republican in presidential election years.

“I’m pretty convinced Romney’s going to win Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, who conducted the 800-likely voter survey from Tuesday through Thursday.

“Will it be fivepoints? Maybe. Will it be three points? Possibly,” Coker said, of what he expects Romney’s margin will be. “I don’t think it’s going to be a recount … I don’t think we’re going to have a recount-race here.”

Continue reading "Miami Herald FL Poll: Romney 51%-Obama 45%" »

Dems: Obama is winning Florida. Sporadically.

The end of the 2012 campaign is giving greater attention than ever to the term "sporadic voters" or the more insidery "sporadics."

In the words of Democrats, the sporadic voter is one who doesn't vote in three of the past three elections. He or she picks and chooses, maybe shows up for a presidential race. So a 0 voter (0 votes in 3 elections) voter is highly sporadic. A 3 (one who votes in 3 elections straight) is highly reliable and not sporadic at all.

Sporadic
This year, for President Obama, it's imperative that the "sporadics" appear because they seem to support Obama more than Mitt Romney.

Consider: many national, and a few state polls, show that Obama is losing to Romney in surveys of likely voters (the screen to determine likely voters varies by pollster). But Obama often wins with straight-up registered voters, those who can vote but may or may not.

Democrats say they're winning the sporadics, getting them to turn out in early voting in Florida. They're 0s over Republicans 43-29% and 1s by 47-30% (click the image to see the data, click here for more on early ballots cast). Democrats say that gives them an edge because they're banking unlikely votes early, allowing them to hold their own as they turn out likely voters. We haven't asked the Republicans, but chances are they'll disagree (if anything, because of the you-choose-A-I-choose-B game theory of campaigning)

The strategy of team Obama yields two takeaways: 1) it sure knows how to mine data 2) the president has a narrow path to win when he needs to rely on unlikely voters.

 

Former Miami mayor Diaz in Spanish-ad pushback: Romney's "exploiting the suffering" of Cubans

One of Miami-Dade's better-respected and least-partisan of politicians, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, cut a Spanish-language ad for the Obama campaign pushing back on a Romney campaign ad that features favorable statements about the president that were made by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro's niece.

Diaz is a no-party-affiliation voter, aka an independent. However, he did endorse Obama and spoke at the 2008 DNC. And, boy, the Romney folks are going out of their way to point out Diaz left with a low approval rating (kind of like Romney, who was upside-down 39-59% in his approve/disapprove numbers in the final year as governor)

We're not sure, but this might be a presidential-campaign first: a Spanish-language pushback against another Spanish-language ad.

The script:

Continue reading "Former Miami mayor Diaz in Spanish-ad pushback: Romney's "exploiting the suffering" of Cubans" »

3.5 million FL early ballots in; Dems lead by 76,000. But it's not like 2008

About 3.5 million Floridians have already cast absentee and in-person early voting and Democrats have an edge of about 76,000 ballots cast before the polls re-opened this morning.

Expect that to continue to grow over the next two days of in-person early voting, which Democrats dominate, especially in South Florida, which is why the GOP Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott effectively shortened early voting days. Democrats have rolled up a 156,000 early vote edge while Republicans lead in absentee ballots case by about 80,000. If every Democrat and Republican who requested an absentee ballot voted it, the GOP absentee-ballot lead would be cut by half.

Most polls show Mitt Romney's winning, and Republicans note that Democrats won't have the early vote advantage they had in 2008 (when they led by anywhere from 250,000 to 363,000 ballots, depending on how you analyze the data).

Well, shortening early voting days from 14 to eight will, by definition, help shorten the number of early votes. Understand also that, relative to the actual early voting hours available in South Florida in 2008, early voting time has been cut 20 percent, or 24 total hours. And South Florida favors President Obama the most.

However, Democrats are barely matching their raw early vote numbers compared to four years ago. So there's an enthusiasm gap relative to 2008 as well.

Democrats also point out that Republicans have been talking a better game than they've produced on the ground. Republicans predicted they'd be up in early ballots cast on Election Day. It's pretty clear they won't be. The Democratic total vote margin increases with each day of early voting.

So what happens on Election Day? May the best ground game win.

Early votes

Party          EV Total            %
DEM         770,892 46%
REP         614,988 37%
IND         286,988 17%
Total       1,672,868

Absentee votes

Party         AB Total              %
REP         781,043 44%
DEM         700,970 39%
IND         308,646 17%
Total       1,790,659

Cumulative EVAB

Party            EVAB            %
DEM       1,471,862 42%
REP       1,396,031 40%
IND         595,634 17%
Total       3,463,527

Outstanding absentee ballots:

Party     Outstanding            %
REP         362,920 36%
DEM         406,634 41%
IND         230,042 23%
Total         999,596

November 01, 2012

President Obama's Sunday reelection rally set for McArthur High School in Hollywood

From a press release:

Grassroots Event with President Obama in Hollywood, Florida

EVENT LOCATION: McArthur High School Football Field (6501 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood FL, 33204) DOORS OPEN: 12:30 PM EST, Sunday, November 4th, 2012 Ticket Distribution Information for Members of the Public: Tickets are still available for the President’s event in Hollywood, Florida. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entrance.

Tickets are available online at http://OFA.BO/Hollywood. Tickets are also available at the following locations beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 2nd beginning at 10:00 AM EST.

Benghazi, Sandy and the politics of disaster

Blown away by Hurricane Sandy: News of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

But the coverage is returning as Sandy’s floodwater’s recede and Republicans press the Obama Administration for more answers about the deadly attacks in the Middle East.

“I think there’s classified information the public should know about eventually but there’s no reason for it to be classified,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said, declining to discuss what classified information he has or has not seen.

Rubio said he hopes for more public information after his committee holds a closed-door hearing on the attacks Nov. 15.

Continue reading "Benghazi, Sandy and the politics of disaster" »