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


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.

One caveat: Monday morning numbers don't completely reflect absentee-ballot data, which is skimpy because mail isn't delivered to county election supervisors on Sundays. So Tuesday morning downloads often have a bulge that reflects Sunday and Mondar absentee-ballot numbers.

At this rate, Democrats could come within 3-6 percentage points of Republicans in total ballots cast heading into Election Day. In raw votes, at the current rates, Democrats could wind up trailing by anywhere from 80,000 to 150,000 total ballots cast -- and with a 455,000 registered-voter advantage over Republicans, that's not an ironclad GOP lead at all. Then there's the matter of independents, who have cast 17 percent of the early ballots so far. Most polls show Charlie Crist is winning them, which potentially gives the Democrat more cushion and could put Gov. Rick Scott in an even tougher spot (please note: these are all estimates based on prior return rates and polling data. Early, absentee and Election Day votes will be counted Nov. 4, not before.)

Prior posts on this and related topics can be found through the Florida Voters tab here; and here are the numbers:

PARTY       EV      %
REP       190,766 41%
DEM       197,780 43%
IND        76,519 16%
OTH       465,065  
PARTY         AB's       %
REP       631,553 47%
DEM       485,967 36%
IND       230,286 17%
TOTAL    1,347,806  
PARTY     EVAB       %
REP       822,319 45%
DEM       683,747 38%
IND       306,805 17%
TOTAL    1,812,871  

Here's the trend since early voting began Monday

EVAB 1027