And the Early voting winner in Florida is...
Excerpt: As early voting reaches the midway point in larger counties, overall turnout by both parties is significantly above past midterms. The state is on pace to set a record for turnout in a non-presidential election.
Republicans still have an advantage in overall turnout with 42 percent of all early and mail ballots. But Democrats, at 40 percent, appear to be closing the gap, and they retook the overall lead in early voting Sunday.
Independents comprise 27 percent of the electorate, but so far make up 17 percent of actual voters.
The electorate in Florida is highly polarized left and right, and most polls show a very narrow slice of likely voters remains undecided.
Bottom Line: And that’s exactly what I’m seeing as well. The winner here is engagement. Especially partisan engagement. As it turns out both parties appear to be energized to vote, at least in Florida and thus far despite a significant uptick in turnout, we’re seeing the exact same political splits we saw in 2014. The question is if this holds through early voting or if voting trails off entering Election Day. It stands to reason that many of the most enthusiastic partisans would take the opportunity to vote earlier if possible. Through Saturday I saw something I’d never seen in early voting in Florida after the first week of voting. Republicans with an overall lead in turnout. However, Democrats turned out in mass on Sunday casting around 17,000 more votes than Republicans that day alone and assuming the typical early voting advantage they generally have. Here’s something to consider in Florida’s statewide races.
In 2014’s total vote count entering Election Day, Republicans led in votes cast by 2%. Governor Scott won re-election by exactly 1%. We don’t know what’s happening in the booth with actual votes but if voters generally are breaking today as they did in 2014, Republicans will need at least a 1% advantage in total votes cast exiting early voting if they’re likely to win the Governor’s race and Senate race should they turn out to be 1%ish races. I’ll continue to provide daily updates.