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Blacks are key in Ds new-voter blowout of Rs

The new voter numbers are in and look like good news for Democrats. The party had the biggest total new-voter gain between this prez election year and last -- 473,491, an increase of 12 percent. In all, 10.6 million are registered to vote in the presidential election, an increase of nearly 14 percent since 2004.

No-Party-Affiliation voters increased at the fastest rate, 22.8 percent since 04. New NPA voters were tops in raw numbers and growth rate between 00 and 04. But now there appears to be a sentiment-shift toward the Dems, who have a 465,417 edge over Republicans. The GOP's voter-registration numbers ticked up by only 9.4 percent since 04.

The key to the Dems 04-08 gains: Black voters. The party added more than 207,500 African Americans to the rolls. That's 44 percent of the new-voter gain. Hispanic voter gains are trickier, considering that the state just started clearly reporting the ethnicity (but the increase could top 25 percent). New white Democratic voters increased just 11 percent. The white voter increase for Republicans: 70 percent.

Do these numbers show that voters are playing the race card? Who knows. Does it mean Barack Obama will beat John McCain? Nope.

Though new voter registrations are like a pre-vote that clearly show the Republican brand is in trouble, the Republican Party of Florida has consistently painted the blue state red, giving Republicans major control of the Legislature and four of the six state-wide elected offices. The Obama folks are talking a good game in Florida and opening an office hither and yon, but the numbers show Florida Democrats have a problem walking the talk.

Yup. It's all about turnout (and vote-counting in some cases). Consider that in 2004, Ds held a 329,000 voter edge of Rs. But an RPOF-estimated 138 more Republicans showed up on election day than Democrats, who had a 66 percent turnout rate compared to the GOP's 75.7 percent turnout in an election with an overall 74 percent turnout.

So, is Obama the next John Kerry? Or is McCain the next Bob Dole, the last Republican Prez contender who lost the state?