Over seven million registered voters in Florida have already cast their ballot as of Wednesday morning. This means statewide 65% of the likely total voter turnout has already been cast. In Leon County 58% of the projected vote is already in at the Supervisor of Elections’ Office.
Republicans are turning out at a higher rate than Democrats in early voting. Democratic voters have turned in more absentee ballots than Republicans. The exact reverse occurred in 2016 and 2018 but the current President has raised issues about absentee voting. This has lowered Republican vote by mail but increased Republican early voting in person.
Four years ago, when Trump carried Florida, 6.6 million voters cast ballots before the election day. We are well pass that number with five days to go before election day.
In 2016 just 96,450 more Democratic voters cast ballots than Republican. As of today, 245,912 more Democrats have voted. Two days ago, that number was 354,654 more Democratic ballots. Republicans for two days in a row a net of 50,000 more Republicans have voted on Monday and Tuesday.
Another number to watch is how many more Republicans voted than persons registered with minor parties and non-partisan. In 2016 Republicans cast 1,089,532 more votes than the NPA voters. This year, as of today, the number is 1,112,011. However, 1.4 million independents have already voted.
In Florida there is a high degree of party loyalty to their respective candidates among Republican and Democratic voters. The defection rates for both parties are very low. Independents (the NPAs) are splitting in favor of Biden over Trump. Even conservative pollsters confirm this trend.
With that in mind, among absentee and early voters it is likely, among the 7 million votes cast, that Biden has a net lead of 440,000 votes or 5% of all the ballots cast thus far. Most Florida polls suggests the percentage Biden is getting among those who already voted is between 58% and 61%. I disagree.
Pollsters say early voters in Pennsylvania are giving Biden 87%, in Michigan the number is 75% Biden, and in Wisconsin pollsters are saying Biden is getting 73%.
If this 53% Biden number is sustained (it neither grows nor shrinks) and if 70% of the votes are cast before election day the question becomes will Trump’s advantage among election day voters be enough to carry the day for him.
If the two conditions above are met – the Biden lead of 53% and 70% turnout before election day – then Trump would need to get 57% of the on-day election voters to carry Florida. Newsweek estimates nationwide that Trump will carry 63% among those casting ballots on election day. That would be enough for Trump to carry Florida unless those Republicans voting early are depleting the pool of election day Trump supporters.
If the pollsters are correct and the estimate of 53% Biden is too low then Trump, even with 63% of those voting in-person on election day, loses.
With so many votes already in an October surprise, if one occurred, would likely be a dud. The FBI Director did his October surprise against Hillary Clinton eleven days before the election. That was plenty of time to swing critical voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Now the impact of something like that will be minimal as there is only just over five days to go.
Jon M. Ausman is the longest serving member of the Democratic National Committee in Florida’s history (December 1992 to January 2017). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 850-321-7799.