More than 888,000 absentee ballots had already been cast of Monday morning when early in-person voting began in Florida.
Right now, Republicans lead Democrats 49-35 percent in terms of absentee ballots cast by party. That 14 percentage point margin is lower than it was in 2010 but it’s far higher than in 2012.
Here's what's remarkable: the number of absentee ballots cast at this point relative to the 2012 elections is actually greater, by 140,695. And that's despite the fact that midterm elections have about a 50 percent turnout compared to presidential election years when turnout is over 72 percent.
Democrats typically excel at early voting while Republicans dominate voting by mail.
But at a Miami rally today, Gov. Rick Scott and a host of other local Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio, said the GOP needs to start banking in-person early votes as well.
“In 2012, when Mitt Romney lost, he lost because Republicans didn’t early vote,” Scott said. “We can win this election. We’ve got to get out and vote.”
The first part of that statement is probably historical revisionism. Romney lost for a variety of reasons, but it’s likely cause in Florida is that the GOP is so outnumbered by Democrats.
That remains the case today, with Democrats holding a 39-35 percent registration advantage of 455,946 voters. One troubling sign for both parties: the rise of the No Party Affiliation voters, who account for 23 percent of the rolls. Add in third party voters, particularly those who think “Independent Party” is really like NPA, and the proportion of independents swells to 26 percent.
Despite having such an edge, Democrats have typically been killed in midterms in Florida. Will this year be different? We'll know more in one week's time, when African-Americans (the most likely to vote early in-person) have a chance to vote after church. If Democrats haven't lowered the Republican edge to single digits in pre-Election Day ballots, Democrat Charlie Crist likely has a huge problem on his hands.
Here are the top 10 counties sorted by party affiliation
|Ballots cast||Party||County||% of total|