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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.

And Rick Scott, according to Quinnipiac, is still at 42, same place he was 60-70 million ago. However, given my past reviews on this blog of Quinnipiac, I will stipulate that quite frankly the race could also be tied at 78-78, because you know, Quinnipiac. The averages continue to show Crist with a small lead.

Back to the numbers. Democrats are outpacing their 2010 performance by 8.6 points.

The GOP advantage among voters who have cast a ballot is 10.4%. in 2010, that margin was 19%.

That remains the single most important fact.

Here are a few more:

In the 10 counties where the Democrats have the largest gains since 2010, 9 of them are in the critical I-4 media markets, or SE Florida. They include lean-right 'swingy' places like Pasco and Sarasota in Governor Crist's backyard Tampa media market, but also key Democratic vote rich places like Broward and Dade.

Take Broward County alone, nearly twice as many Democrats have voted in 2014 than voted in 2010 at this point in the election, and the Democrats advantage has grown from 12 at this point in 2010 to 26.

However to me, the most interesting little story is Osceola County.

Osceola is home to a growing Puerto Rican population, and was the lowest voter turnout county in Florida in 2010. One of the main reasons Sink lost was depressed Hispanic turnout, particularly in the Orlando area.

Well, Osceola tells a different story this year.

Roughly 9400 voters who have voted in Osceola County so far, with 40% of these voters falling into a 'sporadic' voter universe -- i.e., they did not vote in 2010.

Not surprisingly, the voters who voted in 2010 who have already voted, Republicans have a 5 point advantage.

Of the sporadic voters, Democrats have a 25 point advantage. And of the sporadic voters, 52% of are people of color, including 37% self-identified Republicans.

Add this all up, and the difference at this point in the election between 2010 and 2014 is stark. In 2010, the GOP held a 13 point advantage at this point in the election. Today, the Dems hold a 7 point.

All in all, sporadic voters make up something close to 32% of all the Democrats who have voted, while the number is closer to 20% for Republicans.

Because of this voter expansion, Democrats are beating their 2010 performance at this stage of the election in all but 15 counties, and with the exception of Duval, the other 14 counties added up make up a smaller number of voters than have voted already in Martin County.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that in 2010, the GOP went into Election Day with a 11.9% advantage. When Election Day was added in, that landed at a 5 point GOP advantage among all voters. And Scott won by 1 point - 61,000 votes.

To get to that pre-Election Day Advantage, the GOP went into the election with an 18.4% advantage in Absentee Ballots, and a 4.3% Advantage in Early Vote.

Today, the GOP advantage in Absentee is 12 points (21 at this point in 2010). Early Vote is a push (12 at this point in 2010).

The trend lines support a model where the Republican advantage is not 5 again -- the margin needed to provide a Rick Scott 61,000 vote margin, but instead supports a model that looks a lot more like +2 or less Republican, a margin that would have supported a Sink win in 2010.

There is a long ways to go. Democrats need to vote. The Scott campaign, infused with cash from a new campaign supporter, Rick Scott, will continue to run like 17 gazillion negative ads a day. And 12 days is a lifetime in politics.

But all things being equal, everything in the data to date, and every trend line suggests one thing: Governor Crist will have a much friendlier election environment than Alex Sink did in 2010.

And my offer to buy Tim Saler a beer is a standing offer. It would take less time than writing memos, and because I believe in honor among thieves.

And finally, because many of you asked why I was so certain in the last memo that Fred Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame. It's all numbers: you run 11,500 yards in a career, with an average carry of 4.6 yards, rush for 66 touchdowns, and rank 15th on the all time rushing list, you should automatically be in. Period. I would hope Tim and I could at least agree on that.

#FredTaylor #GoJags

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