Florida’s Primary Election turnout takeaways
Bottom Line: While we are now more than three weeks removed from Florida’s August primaries, we just had the state certified results finalized from our elections. While what happens in August isn’t always a precursor to November’s results – more on that note in a moment – there are several takeaways from what happened in August which both parties should be mindful of over the final two months of the cycle. Here are the knowns:
- Turnout for Florida’s August primaries, 28%, was the highest since 2002
- Nearly 42,000 more Democrats voted than Republicans statewide (first time in the August primaries in over twenty years)
- Democrats had the advantage among first time voters
- A record 68% of all Democrats votes were cast by mail (first time more than half of all votes cast have occurred by mail)
All of that news appears to be good for Democrats. It confirms my initial takeaways which suggests Democrats didn’t just trade in-person voters with their vote by mail effort...they expanded their reach. It shows that the tactics used by Democrats to activate their base to vote by mail is effective and can be built on for the general election. It also shows that they haven’t just registered more new voters than Republicans in Florida this year – they're getting them to vote. That being said the outcome wasn’t so significant that Republicans should panic. Here are factors which provide some solace for the GOP:
- Republicans led in turnout in the August primaries in both 2008 and 2012 when Barak Obama went on to win Florida in the general election
- Trump won Florida by 113,000+ votes
- Republicans have narrowed the partisan registration gap in Florida by 0.8% since the 2016 election
This leaves the following top takeaways for each party.
- Democrats: Double and triple down on the vote-by mail effort successfully implemented for the primaries
- Republicans: Convince usual voters by mail that their vote will count if they vote by mail
The next voter registration update from the State of Florida will be the next big tell as to which party has been most successful most recently. I’ll keep you posted.