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Steve Schale: Notes on the tenth day of early voting in Florida

To: Curious Americans and President Vladimir Putin
From: Steve Schale, Proud FloridaMan
Re: 5 Days out — and eight years later, POTUS returns to Duval

*5 days until the election.
*7 days until the first Thursday after the election.
*9 days until FSU basketball tips off.
*23 days until the Tallahassee Turkey Trot 15K.
*113 days until Daytona 500.

Welcome to the last Thursday, and before I begin, a note to Democrats:

REALLY? What are you waiting for? Return those ballots!

So, beginning today with a point of personal privilege. After hitting send on this memo, I am headed to Jacksonville for President Obama’s rally. Eight years ago today, then-Sen. Barack Obama was in Jacksonville, for his last rally in Florida, and his first of the final day. It was also the day he lost his grandmother.

After the rally, I sat down with the soon-to-be president to explain where we were in the early vote.

As I tried to explain it in my overly data-centric way (we are ahead by more than John Kerry lost by, etc.), he finally asked me what I meant, to which I said, “it means we’ve won.”

He left Jacksonville with a little smile, and I went back to Tampa completely freaking out that I just essentially guaranteed him that we had won, thinking ‘holy crap, if somehow we lose this thing, he’ll always remember me as that jerk in Florida who said we had won.”

So, thank God we won.

It is hard to believe it’s been eight years. For a guy who grew up in a small town in rural Illinois and a small town in North Florida, it has been both the ride, and the professional blessing of a lifetime.

Basically, I spend most days wondering how I’ve gotten to do these things.

But why Jacksonville? Forgive me for making this point daily, but Florida is all about managing margins. For Dems to win, we must run up very big margins in a handful of places, then hang on. For GOP to win, they run up strong margins in more counties. Thus, both sides want to take away one of the other’s strengths.

The GOP, for example, in the last few presidentials, has worked to erode Democratic support in Palm Beach. For Dems, the most obvious place to do the same is Duval, because of the county’s large African-American population.

Part of what makes such a great place to work is it is ever changing. You can never say you “know Florida,” because just when you think you figure it out, something changes. And in 2016, we are seeing two pretty big changes: the real rise of NPA voters, and the rise of Hispanics — and the two are intertwined. But more on that later.

Yesterday was a big day for early voting. Several counties, including Orange (Orlando), Palm Beach, and Alachua (where UF is) had their biggest days. Many others were close to their best day. And as a former Draft Biden guy, I want to point out the two places the VP visited today saw big increases in early voting over yesterday.

Basically, Wednesday was a day Florida got its vote on.

And while there has seemed to be a collective surprise that Florida has gotten close, a note that the three polls today were C+1, C+2, C+3. There were 31 million votes over the last four presidentials, and 70K separate the two parties.

Yes, it is gonna be close. How close? Well, I’ll tell you a little secret: one of the models I ran in early October had the race come back to a tie. Not a tie like “48-48,” an actual, vote-specific tie.

So with that, here is where we stand:

Yesterday, we pushed close to the five million vote mark, a total which will happen today.

Republicans won vote-by-mail by a 1K vote plurality, and Dems won VBM by 7K. In total, 400,489 people voted yesterday. One other note, NPA participation is increasing, a trend which started over the weekend. Statewide NPA participation to date is 20 percent, but yesterday, statewide NPA participation was 24.

Total Ballots cast: 4,687,113
Total Vote-By-Mail: 2,273,978 (46.7 percent)
Total Early Vote: 2,593,135 (53.3 percent)
Republicans: 1,948,126 (40.0 percent)
Democrats: 1,936,240 (39.8 percent)
NPA: 769,241 (20.2 percent)

Total Margin: GOP +0.22 percent.

Right now, I think about 52 percent of the likely electorate has voted.

And there are still 1,085,676 vote-by-mail ballots sitting out there, and yes, Democrats have more outstanding mail-in ballots than Republicans. Unreturned vote-by-mail ballots look like this: 41D-34R-25NPA, meaning 84,088 Democrats apparently think getting daily calls from organizers is more fun than voting.



It was a very good day for Democrats in Hillsborough. Almost 25K ballots were processed today, and Dems won the day by 1,400 votes, carrying both the VBM returns and the in-person vote. Also, NPA made up 25.5 percent of all votes today, as Dems maintain their six-point edge over the GOP (+18,600).

There is a Hispanic surge happening here. So far, 26 percent of Hispanic voters have no voting history, compared to 13 percent for both whites and blacks. What is interesting about Hillsborough is, while it is known for its Cuban roots, it is home to the largest populations of Mexicans in the state, a demographic that has begun to change the county’s politics. Right now, the county is about 66 percent white, 14 percent black, and 13 percent Hispanic, but it will be interesting to watch it change in the coming days. Given the rise of NPA, I suspect it will get more Hispanic.

Metro Orlando

Rather than looking at I-4, I wanted to take a deeper look at the metro Orlando area.

It is easy to think about what is happening politically in Central Florida as an Orlando phenomenon, but the demographic shifts that have occurred in the region spread out over the three-county metro Orlando area (Seminole, Orange, and Osceola). The difference from the Bush wins to the Obama wins has been stunning: In the two Bush wins, Bush carried the three-county area by an average of 22,000 votes. In the two Obama wins, the president carried them by a margin of roughly 100,000 votes — a nearly 122,000-vote margin improvement for the Democrats.

No place is starker than Osceola County, a place Bush won by five in 2004, but Obama won by 24 just eight years later. That, my friends, is what Puerto Rican growth is doing to politics.

It is obvious, but still important to stress, that the reason Puerto Ricans are changing the politics so fast is, unlike all other Hispanic migrants to Florida, they can vote on Day One as U.S. citizens, so their growth has an acute impact on politics. Orange County, for example, once one of the whitest, and most-Republican places, is now majority-minority in registered voters, and overwhelmingly Democratic. The changes aren’t as significant in Seminole, but they are still happening.

Regarding total early voting there, you can see how the NPA’s compared yesterday to previous voting. What you see, in part, is Puerto Rican surge.

Seminole: 43R-35D-22NPA — Total: +8,907R (Yesterday: 41R-33D-26NPA)
Orange: 47D-30R-23NPA — Total +46,974D (Yesterday: 46D-28R-28NPA)
Osceola: 48D-28R-24NPA — Total +15,430D (Yesterday: 46D-24R-30NPA)

So to that point, let’s dig a bit deeper. In Orange County, 29 percent of Hispanics who have voted were first-time voters. In Osceola, it is 31 percent. In Orange County, 55 percent Hispanics have voted in no more than one of the last three elections, a number that rises to 59 percent in Osceola. And many are registering NPA, not Democratic, which is why it is significant that yesterday, on the biggest day in early voting in Orange County, 72 percent of voters were Dem and NPA.

South Florida

Yesterday, 114K people voted in South Florida, of which 27 percent were NPA. In total, Democrats won the day by almost 29K votes, with the margins 48D-25R-27NPA, and total votes in the Palm Beach and Miami media markets accounted for 30 percent of statewide votes. Miami continues to over-perform, and Palm Beach is a little low. If Palm Beach can catch up to its historical levels, South Florida is going to turn in some very high margins for Hillary Clinton.

You can see the NPA surge below.

Palm Beach: 48D-29R-23NPA — Total +53,135 D (Yesterday: 45D-29R-26NPA)
Broward: 57D-23R-20NPA — Total: +146,704 D (Yesterday: 54D-21R-25NPA)
Dade: 44D-31R-25NPA — Total +73,185 (Yesterday: 43D-27R-30NPA)


The president is going to arrive in a Duval that looks a lot more like it did in his two elections than the previous two.

As a reminder, Bush in 2004 won Duval by 17 points, or about 61,000 votes. In Obama’s two wins, the margin averaged around 10,000 votes. In 2008, we lost by only 8,000, and honestly, I am still annoyed we didn’t get closer. That and losing Sarasota by 227 votes are the two places that still burn me. In my opinion, anything under a 20K-vote loss in Duval is a win.

More than 20,000 people voted yesterday, mostly through in-person early voting, which the Democrats won, leading to the Dems winning the day by about 100 votes. Not a ton, but succeeding in keeping the margin in check. The GOP margin now stands at 1.3 (43.2R-41.9D). This is a place where African-American turnout is a little low, about 25 percent to date (compared to about 30 percent statewide). But this is also a place where African-American turnout rises in the final weekend and into Election Day, so the president is right on time.

Additional notes

The electorate continues to get more diverse. Through the Sunday vote, Hispanics are now 14 percent of the votes so far, with Black voters (African-American and Caribbean) at 11.8. White is down to 69. Keep in mind, it was 67 in 2012, and it has come down from 71 in just a few days.

I use Black voters, and not African-American for a very specific reason: a rather sizable piece of the Florida Black population isn’t actually African-American but instead is Caribbean-American.

I wanted to look at turnout another way, though. As of the voter-specific data I have available (ending Tuesday — this runs a day behind), about 34 percent of the state has voted. But when you look at it from an ethnic perspective, it looks like this: about 36 percent whites, 30 percent Hispanics and 30 percent Black voters.

Now, when you keep in mind that the vote-by-mail electorate is quite white, one would expect the white turnout to be way out front, then come back to the rest of the state. This is basically what is happening.

So, let’s revisit briefly this black turnout piece from yesterday. If you think about the state as a pie, each ethnicity takes up a piece. Between 2012 and 2016, the white piece got smaller; the black piece stayed about the same, and the Hispanic and other pieces all grew. Also, when you think back to 2012, Black voters exceeded their voter registration share.

That is not normal, thus when people talk about black turnout being down, it is important to remember there are two reasons: 1. Barack Obama was a historic figure and isn’t on the ballot, and 2. Hispanics own more of the pie.

As I described to someone today, comparing 2016 Clinton black turnout to 2008 or 2012 is like comparing the ’91 Bulls to the ’96 Bulls. The ’91 Bulls won 61 games and the championship. The ’96 Bulls won 72 with arguably the greatest pure team of all time. We all like to talk about the ’96 Bulls, but the ’91 team was damn good and has a ring.

Clinton doesn’t need 08/12 turnout, she needs the Black share of the electorate to approach its share of registered voters. And when you look at Black turnout today as it relates to whites, as well as how the share has grown since the start of in-person early voting (Blacks have been 15 percent of in-person early voting), it is trending well toward that goal.

One last piece, because I don’t think it has gotten the attention it deserves: the early Republican leads have been built — not completely, but in part — by cannibalizing their own Election Day vote. The conventional wisdom is the GOP wins Election Day, but honestly, specifically in 2008 and to a lesser extent in 2012, they won Election Day because we were basically done, and thus won Election Day, not because they were better at it, but because they had a larger pool of highly likely voters left to vote.

In 2016, they have gotten a larger share — and number of their traditional Election Day voters to vote early, which has left an interesting scenario: Democrats have more “2012 voters” left to vote than do Republicans.

Quickly looking at how the state is playing out: It looks like Fort Myers, which has gotten a lot of ink for high turnout, is coming back to Earth, an indication that it might have just voted quickly, instead of expanding. The Fort Myers media market yesterday made up just 3 percent of all the votes (it is about 6.7 percent of statewide votes historically). The market is still over-performing, at about 8 percent of statewide totals, but that is down from about 10.5 percent last Friday.

On flip-side, for Republicans, North Florida did come out yesterday, making up about 25 percent of statewide votes, raising its statewide share to 17 percent, which is closer to being in line with where it typically falls. Granted some of that is strong Dem days in Leon and Alachua, but overall, more North Florida voting is good for Donald Trump.

Dems can take heart that Miami and Orlando continue to be strong, with 22 percent of statewide votes yesterday coming from the Miami DMA, and 20 percent from Orlando, keeping both markets above their historical shares. In the back of my mind, a 500K-vote margin out of Broward and Dade is probably the upper end of HRC numbers — and, possibly the number that makes it tough for Trump to win. If Miami can continue to stay about 20 percent of the state, getting close to that 500K margin looks attainable.

With that, I am off to Jacksonville. Talk to you all tomorrow.

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Steve Schale: Notes on the ninth day of early voting in Florida

To: Curious Americans and President Vladimir Putin

From: Steve Schale

Re: No More Wednesdays!!

*6 days until the election.
*10 days until FSU basketball tips off.
*24 days until I start Clark Griswalding my house.
*114 days until the Daytona 500.

Before I begin, a note to Democrats:


So here is the best news you will read all day: We woke up on a Wednesday for the very last time in the 2016 presidential election.

And no, don’t tweet at me about 269 scenarios or recounts; in doing so, you are just tempting fate.

Seven days from this moment, you will likely be hung over, and I will be back to tweeting about NASCAR and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Also, I got a lot of Twitter feedback on my memo yesterday about Democrats needing to buy stamps to mail back their ballot. Sure, some places don’t require it, BUT THAT WASN’T THE POINT.

Mail back your freaking ballots, people.

So, one more thing I keep getting asked: Steve, what is the secret to winning Florida?

I am going to let you in on a little secret to quote one of my favorite GOP operatives, Kevin Sweeny.

The secret is, there is no secret.

Florida is a collection of lots of pockets of voters. It is all about managing the margins in those places, expanding the electorate where it helps you, and playing defense. This is not the kind of place where you can say definitively if X happens, candidate Y will win or lose. It is more like building a mosaic with many different colored tiles.

I’ll address the issue that popped up yesterday with African-American turnout later; keep the above in mind when we get to it.

And please don’t ask me about the guy on MSNBC who said Hillary Clinton is up 28 percent with GOP and up 8 percent statewide. She isn’t.

I do think she is slightly ahead, but not like that guy said. And no, I don’t want to argue his methodology, or why he might be right. He isn’t. Cool?

So, where are we today, besides close?

Well … we saw almost 400K votes, thanks to a slight pickup of both vote-by-mail returns and in-person voting. We also saw in-person overtake VBM as we push toward the 4.5M vote mark and almost to 50 percent of likely turnout. I think we are roughly 48 percent to goal turnout.

Overall, the day was a push, with Republicans winning VBM by 2K, and Dems winning the in-person early by a few hundred votes.

Total Ballots cast: 4,466,624

Total Vote-by-Mail: 2,168,750 (51.4 percent)
Total Early Vote: 2,297,874 (48.6 percent)

Republicans: 1,798,954 (40.3 percent)
Democrats: 1,781,498 (39.9 percent)
NPA: 886,172 (19.8 percent)

Total Margin: GOP +0.39 percent

And there are still 1,173,799 vote-by-mail ballots sitting out there, and yes, Democrats have more outstanding mail-in ballots than Republicans.

Unreturned vote-by-mail ballots remain the same as yesterday, looking like this: 41D-35R-24NPA, meaning 82,541 more Democrats have ballots sliding between the couch cushions.


Back to benchmarks


For Democrats, Tuesday looked like Monday, narrowly winning vote-by-mail and having a solid plurality day with in-person early vote. As will be a trend on the I-4 corridor, NPA is up here too, at almost 25 percent of the vote for the day. Democrats still maintain a just over 6 percent lead over Republicans — or about 17,200 voters.

For the day: 25,513 total votes (39.2-36.2-24.6 D-R-NPA).


Overall, it was a decent, not great day. Democrats won the plurality of votes, narrowly losing Pinellas, Polk, and Seminole, but winning elsewhere. In the counties that were a loss, the margins were exceptionally narrow. For example, the Dems plurality margin in Osceola was bigger than the loss in the three counties combined. Good reminder that margins in Florida matter.

Dems did win Polk’s in-person early voting again.

Orange County did have a very solid day, driven by large NPA participation. In fact, no county on the I-4 corridor saw less than 23 percent NPA share for the day. Places like Osceola saw the number in the mid 27s. There isn’t one easy takeaway from this, though in the core of the Orlando media market, it is an almost surely Hispanic surge.

South Florida

Another solid day in South Florida: Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade all saw bigger days than yesterday, all powered by NPA voters.

In Dade, NPAs were 29 percent of the vote, Broward 24 percent, and Palm Beach 25 percent. As a result, the Dem share margin was lower than yesterday, but I suspect that in real votes, the HRC number grew here.

Dems increased their Broward lead to over 130K votes, and Palm Beach is now pushing 50K.

I will have a deeper dive into this and I-4 tomorrow.


Republicans won the day by 95 votes, but because Democrats won the in-person early vote by about 250 votes, they cut the overall GOP advantage from 1.7 percent to 1.5 percent, out of 168K votes.

As a reminder, Bush in 2004 won Duval by 17 points, or about 61,000 votes. In Obama’s two wins, the margin averaged around 10,000 votes. I would happily spot the GOP a 20,000 vote win and walk away, but right now, I don’t see any path to Donald Trump to get back to that 17-point Bush margin.

And since there are very few places where he can change the traditional Florida battleground math, right now, Democrats are in a good place.

Additional notes:

Much was made about the POLITICO story about black turnout in Florida. I’m not going to use my space to push back or spout talking points, but to provide context.

Comparing turnout to 2012 or 2008 is like comparing something to the ’96 Bulls. Some things are special, like the historical election of the first black president and his re-election. Thus, in 2012, the share of African-American and Caribbean voters exceeded their voter registration share.

That’s not normal, and shouldn’t be expected.

What I do expect is two things: black vote in Florida to approach its share of registration (13.9) and total diversity to be higher than 12. Both of those things make an HRC win path much cleaner.

When in-person early vote began, which is always far more white and far older than the population as a whole, black voters made up 7-8 percent of the turnout.

That number has steadily climbed to 11.7 percent, as black voters make up around 15 percent of in-person early voters. It probably is now 12, though I won’t know until the afternoon.

Frankly, at 12, we can win, but as in-person early overtakes vote-by-mail, that number should grow to 13. In fact, if just the remaining likely black voters vote, we get right around that figure, and HRC has been turning out low-propensity voters.

So, yes, it’s an issue that the campaign should worry about, and yes, it’s one that deserves attention, but no, all is not lost.

Secondly, Hispanics are absolutely surging.

Almost 14 percent of the electorate, more than half of Hispanic Dems (51 percent) and Hispanic NPA (57 percent) are low propensity, which has led the Dems to a 90K voter lead with unlikely voters. Now 31 percent of Dem voters are low propensity, compared to 24 percent of Republicans. It’s higher than both with NPAs.

Two other observations.

I’ve been thinking about the “why Dems aren’t ahead” question, and I think the answer may be more structural than obvious.

Over the last four years, Democrats have lost about 400K white Dems, many to party switching, and a significant number in North Florida. I’m going to explore this question more, but I have a hunch those 12 leads people keep talking about this week was built, in part, with voters who are not Dems anymore, and probably, in the end, didn’t vote for Obama.

Also, just to reiterate a point from yesterday, more 2012 Election Day GOP have voted early than 2012 EDay Dems, by about 35K voters. Take those out and Dems have been leading since the beginning of last week.

However, what that means is Dems have more 2012 voters yet to vote, meaning at the same time, the old rule about GOP crushing Election Day may not apply.

I still think we are headed toward an electorate that’s 34-35 percent nonwhite. It was 33 percent in 12, and 29 percent in 08. Voter registration is 36 percent nonwhite. Anything more diverse than 12 is a net positive for Clinton.

I’m back home this afternoon, so tomorrow I will dig deeper into these questions, as well as how turnout is looking in some key areas.

Thanks again for reading these. I do truly appreciate your time.

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So far, Gators’ Luke Del Rio has replaced Will Grier just fine

These days, they talk about the Gators.

Is Florida as good as it’s No. 10 ranking in the AP Poll? Is anyone’s defense any better? Do the Gators have enough offense to get past this streak of games against Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU and FSU?

One thing you don’t hear, however, is talk about yesterday’s hero, Will Grier.

He is gone and pretty much forgotten. In his place is another young quarterback, Luke Del Rio. And despite the offensive struggles of the Gators, that’s been a fairly good swap so far.

Grier left Florida last year when the team was 6-0 and ranked No. 11 in the country. Del Rio has the team 6-1 and No. 10. Grier had a quarterback rating of 145.6. Del Rio’s isn’t quite as high at 124.5, but it will do. Grier had thrown for eight touchdown passes. In five games, Del Rio has thrown for eight.

Still, the Gators would love a little more offense. They’re only 75th in the country, and a spot where spotty offense catches up to a team. Bowling Green, for instance, is 77th in the nation, and they’re 1-6. Miami is 70th and riding a four-game losing streak. Iowa State is 80th and 1-6.

That’s how good the Gators’ defense (second in the nation) has been. It shortens fields, and it wears down the opponent. Florida has allowed one touchdown or less in all but two games.

This week, the challenges get harder as Florida plays against Arkansas.

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Steve Schale: Notes on the eighth day of early voting in Florida

To: People like me who need a life

From: Steve Schale

Re: Freedom is Near

*7 days until the election.

*11 days until FSU basketball tips off.

*115 days until the Daytona 500.

*1,455 days until my 7 days out memo in 2020.

Before I begin, a note to Democrats (Republicans, skip a graph or two).

Have you voted?

If yes, skip the bold section.

If no, seriously, WTF are you waiting for? Too cool to early vote? Well, be that way. You are banned from this memo until you vote.

OK, America, we’ve made it this far. It has been 504 days since Trump announced for president. We only have seven more to go. Embrace your inner Joe Biden: “Come on, we are America. We can do this.”

I got a ton of calls, emails, tweets, and notes by carrier pigeon asking me to sum up yesterday’s five-page memo.

So here it is: It is close. Shocker. It is Florida. It is always close.

How close?

So here is where we stand:

Yesterday, we had our four-millionth vote, and we saw the Big 3 counties in Southeast Florida top 1 million votes. We also saw in-person early vote almost overtake vote-by-mail. That will happen today.

Republicans won vote-by-mail by an 8K vote plurality, and Dems won in-person early voting by 1K. In total, 345,875 people voted yesterday. One other note, NPA participation is increasing, a trend which started over the weekend.

I do need to note that not all the data on the state site lines up with data on local SOE sites. The differences aren’t huge — though because one of the places where it looks like the data isn’t totally updated is Broward, this could change these numbers throughout the day:

Total ballots cast: 4,077,521

Total Vote-by-Mail: 2,054,519 (50.4 percent)

Total Early Vote: 2,023,002 (49.6 percent)

Republicans: 1,648,603 (40.4 percent)

Democrats: 1,632,677 (40.0 percent)

NPA: 769,241 (19.6 percent)

Total Margin: GOP +0.39 percent

The brilliant Tim Russert is running around heaven with that little white board, saying “I told you so, Florida, Florida, Florida,” though I suspect he’s added a hashtag — because he’s Tim Russert.

Right now, I think about 43-44 percent of the likely electorate has voted.

And there are still 1,273,396 vote-by-mail ballots sitting out there, and yes, Democrats have more outstanding mail-in ballots than Republicans. Unreturned vote-by-mail ballots look like this: 41D-35R-24NPA, meaning 79,658 Democrats apparently think watching cat videos is more important than putting a stamp on their ballot.


Back to the benchmarks. In advance, I apologize for the thinner look at the county data below. I had to hit the road early this morning and the state updated the site late.


Democrats had a good, but not great day. The early voting margin was about 1,000 over the GOP, but the GOP narrowly won the vote-by-mail vote (GOP +43). The NPA number here, like everywhere, is increasing. Of the day’s total vote, 23 percent was NPA, leading the overall NPA share to rise to 20 percent. Democrats still maintain an approximately 6.5 percent lead over Republicans, or about 16,500 voters.

And Hillsborough Democrats, there are 7,718 more Democrats with ballots on their couch than Republicans, but the Republicans won the vote-by-mail day. #JustSayin


Democrats won the day, another one which saw increased NPA participation. The day went 40-35-25 to the Dems, claiming a 4K vote plurality. About 83,000 ballots were processed today.

In the “this probably means more for 2020” file, Democrats won the day in Polk, after winning in-person early voting for the eighth day in a row.

South Florida

According to the ballots on the state site, Democrats won the day by about 20,000 votes, but I would caution that it doesn’t look as though the Broward VBM totals are fully updated, so this will grow.

While I didn’t love the totals, the margins for Democrats in Dade continue to improve, winning the day 45-28-27, which is several points better than the Dem’s registration advantage, and once again Broward NPAs outpaced Broward Republicans.


Republicans won the day by 95 votes, but because Democrats won the in-person early vote by about 250 votes, they cut the overall GOP advantage from 1.7 percent to 1.5 percent, out of 168K votes.

As a reminder, Bush in 2004 won Duval by 17 points, or about 61,000 votes. In Obama’s two wins, the margin averaged around 10,000 votes. I would happily spot the GOP a 20,000-vote win and walk away, but right now, I don’t see any path to him to get back to that 17-point Bush margin. And since there are very few places where he can change the traditional Florida battleground math, right now, Democrats are in pretty good place.

And again, special note to Duval Democrats: You don’t have to lose days to the GOP; 1,730 more Democratic vote-by-mail ballots are sitting on entryway tables. Go talk to your neighbors.

Additional notes

The electorate continues to get more diverse. Through the Sunday vote, Hispanics are now 13.5 percent of the votes so far, with Black voters (African-American and Caribbean) at 11. White is down to 70 and has trended down from nearly 80 percent when in-person early voting started. I have no doubt at this point that the electorate in 2016 will end up more diverse than 2012.

I also don’t expect the Black share of the vote to match 2012. That was a historic moment. But I do expect the Black share of the vote to approach its registration share (13.9 percent). In my models, which have her winning, I expect it to land at 13 percent, so anything north of this is positive.

On the flip-side, Hispanics, particularly low-propensity Democratic and NPA Hispanics, are turning out. So far, 50 percent of Hispanic Democrats and 55 percent of Hispanic NPAs who have voted are low-propensity voters, which I define as voters who either have no voting history or have voted in just one of the last three elections. And keep in mind, Hispanic registration grew by 121K voters in just the 10 weeks after Aug. 1.

Democrats now have a low-propensity-voter advantage of 65,000.

Moreover, there is something in Dade that I have been wondering about. Right now, 153K Hispanics have voted, many of whom are people who inevitably fall into Marco Rubio’s turnout universe. But how many will vote for Rubio, and also Clinton? In other words, as Rubio is turning out Miami Republicans for his own campaign, is he also inadvertently helping Clinton? In a lot of polling I’ve seen in South Florida, there are areas where the difference between the Rubio and Clinton margins are as much as 20 points. How many of those are Miami Hispanic Republicans? I suspect it is more than a few.

Another interesting point a very smart observer mentioned to me yesterday: more traditional Election Day Republicans are voting early than Election Day Democrats. According to the file I use, about 620,000 people who have voted early already are voters who in 2012 voted on Election Day. In other words, in the absurd terms of today’s politics — these are early voters the parties are “cannibalizing” from their own Election Day turnout.

Republicans have been making the case that Democrats have closed the VBM gaps by cannibalizing their own vote, but here is an interesting finding: Republicans are actually doing it more to themselves. Right now, about 34,000 more 2012 Election Day Republicans have voted early than Democrats.

In other words, the GOP lead right now is based on cannibalizing their own supposed Election Day advantage.

On the flip side, Democrats, please don’t get all giddy.

There are plenty of worrisome things in the data, not the least of which is the ridiculous number of vote-by-mail ballots are out there, and there are slightly more 2012 voting Republicans yet to vote than Democrats. In other words, to stay with the theme, take nothing for granted. And again, there are almost 80,000 more Democratic VBM ballots gathering dust in homes around the state — but a large chunk of those are low-propensity voters — volunteer to go chase those. Whether or not Trump wins Florida is largely on you.

One last thing, looking at media market vote shares.

For the day, Orlando stretched it out, coming in as 23 percent of the state’s votes for the day. Jacksonville also had a good day, with nearly 10 percent of all the ballots coming in. West Palm continues to be under where it should be, and Miami looked almost exactly as it should.

Overall, Fort Myers continues to come back to reality, but so does North Florida, which is up to 17 percent of all votes processed. Orlando and Miami continue to exceed their traditional vote shares, which is likely a result of some of this Hispanic surge.

Lastly, tomorrow morning I have an early meeting, and a drive back to Tallahassee. I honestly don’t know if I will get a full memo out until late in the day. I will tweet out some data, and try to get some notes out early, but forgive me, this #FloridaMan volunteer has some real work to do tomorrow.

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Martin Dyckman: Keep calm and carry on

keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanTo prepare for war with Nazi Germany, the British government considered how to maintain civilian morale should events go badly.

Among other things, it printed more than two million posters with the slogan “Keep calm and carry on.”

Although they were never issued, copies are available wherever good refrigerator magnets are sold.

That slogan is apt today for those of us in the former colonies facing our own existential crisis — the presidential candidacy of a man with no more respect for the basic values of democracy than the bigoted demagogue and pathological liar who menaced Europe in 1939.

The big October surprise turns out not to come from Donald Trump‘s old buddy at the Kremlin but from his newfound pal at the J. Edgar Hoover building. Yet not even Hoover dared to meddle in an election like James Comey just did. It could not have come at a better time for Trump or a worse time for the nation.

Even so, the thing to do is to keep calm and carry on. This election will be decided by the turnout. Vote early — but not often, as some Trump supporters have been caught doing — and make sure that your like-minded friends and neighbors do. Florida is once again critical. Let 2000 be only past, not prologue, Comey conceded that he had no idea what’s in those newly discovered emails. For all he or anyone else knows, they could be copies of ones the FBI saw long ago.

Most people, I think, can see the FBI director’s misconduct as a pitiful attempt to cover his butt with Trump and other Republicans who had been trashing him relentlessly because he found no criminal offense in Hillary Clinton‘s emails.

In an op-ed entitled “Working the Refs,”— an allusion to athletes and coaches who try to intimidate game officials — New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said “it looks as if he (Comey) tried to buy them off by throwing them a bone just a few days before the election.”

A deeper question than what’s in those emails is the one Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid put to Comey: What does the FBI know — and isn’t saying — about specific links between Trump’s campaign and Vladimir Putin?

Reid’s letter implied strongly he and other Senate leaders, including Republicans, know what the FBI knows and that it is “explosive information.” Only the FBI can release it.

“The public has a right to know this information,” Reid told Comey. “I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it.”

The real danger to American interests would be keeping Trump’s Putin connection secret even as Comey tries to sabotage his opponent’s campaign.

Meanwhile, a week remains to keep calm and carry on. And that means taking the opinion polls as much as for what they aren’t as for what they are.

The paranoid candidate might actually be right about some of the opinion polls being rigged, but if so, it would be his supporters who are doing it. It’s well-known that some people are embarrassed to admit, even anonymously to pollsters, that they support racist candidates. This was a factor in Sen. Jesse Helms‘s unexpected victory over a black challenger, Harvey Gantt, in 1990.

Anyone voting for Trump should be embarrassed to say so. The man’s bigotry, immorality, sexism, boorishness, ignorance, untruthfulness, dishonesty, recklessness, and sheer incompetence are staggering. To admit to voting for him is to say that, whatever the pretext, you don’t mind disgracing the presidency, the nation, and yourself. And that you don’t mind entrusting the Oval Office to the most dangerous man who has ever sought it.

The polls could also be overstating his support. As the Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman points out, there are women “who aren’t telling their husbands that they’ll be voting for Clinton.” Would they be honest with a pollster “if their husband is sitting next to them on the couch?”

The two factors could balance each other out. Or they might not. We’ll know next Tuesday night.

Keep calm and carry on. And may God save the United States.


Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

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Steve Schale: Notes on the weekend of early voting in Florida

To: Everyone ready for this election to be over
From: Steve Schale
Re: The second-to-last Monday of 2016 election

*8 days until the election.
*12 days until FSU basketball tips off.
*96 days until the Tallahassee Marathon.

*1,232 days until the Florida Presidential Preference Primary.

Before I begin, a quick sidebar with Florida Democrats:

If you are reading this and haven’t voted, close your laptop or turn off your phone, and go vote. If you don’t know where to vote, go to https://gttp.votinginfoproject.org/.

Do that now. I’ll wait here until you are back ….

…. Now that you have voted, back to the memo.

I think it is important to start by restating one of my favorite factoids about Florida.

If you add up all the people who have voted for president in Florida in the 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections, this is what you get:

Republicans: 15,086,968
Democrats: 15,015,920
Difference: 71,048

That is a margin of 0.24 percent. Under Florida law, we’d be looking at a lengthy recount. That’s how close we are.

If you are curious about this, I wrote a lengthy blog piece entitled “Florida is Gonna Florida” a few weeks ago. You can read it here.

This weekend, Democrats won by about 15,000 votes out of 473,612 ballots cast.

The spread was roughly 41D-38R-21 NPA. I am not going to lie — I wish the weekend were bigger for Democrats, but given the number of people who had already voted, and how Dems have cut into the VBM advantage, I am honestly not sure what I had expected.

So with that, let’s see where we are with seven days of in-person early voting, and Election Day to go. Right now, we are around 40 percent of all likely ballots cast.

Total Ballots cast: 3,731,646
Total Vote by Mail: 1,963,274 (52.7 percent)
Total Early Vote: 1,768,372 (47.3 percent)

By party: 

Republicans: 1,509,467 (40.45 percent)
Democrats: 1,500,937 (40.22 percent)
NPA: 721,249 (19.33 percent)
Total Margin: GOP +0.23 percent (Does that margin sound familiar?)

In other words, Florida is currently pulling a Florida.

By the time you watch Jake Tapper or Chuck Todd this afternoon, the odds are high that the four-millionth ballot will be cast. There is also a chance in-person early voting will overtake vote-by-mail. More likely tomorrow, but it could happen today.

To give some sense of what the last week might look like, we started Monday with about 1.2 million vote-by-mail ballots, so since Monday, we’ve seen about 2.5 million additional votes.

Given that there are 1,345,257 vote-by-mail ballots still sitting on kitchen tables, I assume we will be between 6.5 and 7 million votes in before Election Day. This would put the election at 70 percent complete before the first poll opens at 7 a.m. Nov. 8.

Outstanding mail-in ballots are roughly 40D-35R-25NPA, with Democrats having 71,388 more sitting on coffee tables than do Republicans.


After one week, we can state for a fact one thing: this is an election that could come down to a small handful of votes. Every vote is going to count, so if you want your side to carry Florida, get to work.

It also means at the rate of early voting, we will have a very good sense of where Florida is by 7:30-8 p.m. on election night whether someone is going to win by two points, or whether we are going to be watching people look at ballots with magnifying glasses. I’ve seen the latter and am praying for the former.


Democrats come out of the weekend with a roughly 16K partisan advantage or about 6.5 percent. For the Dems, this was boosted by a weekend where they won in-person early vote by 12 points. In total, about 240,000 voters have cast ballots so far. If week two of early voting repeats week one, Hillsborough will have about 70 percent of its vote in before Election Day, and Democrats will have 28-30K, which pretty much parallels the party’s voter registration advantage.


Democrats won the weekend on the I-4 counties by about 9,000 votes (42-34-24) out of 110,000 cast, thanks to a +12.5 percent in-person early voting advantage. The big thing this weekend: a sizable jump in NPA participation: 24 percent of all votes this weekend coming from NPA. Orange and Seminole counties had significant increases in NPA participation — the former is almost surely good news for Democrats, and the latter may be too. I won’t know until later today when I can see actual voter data.

Polk County has now gone seven days of in-person advantage for Democrats. Republicans still hold the overall lead, but with the Puerto Rican trends there, I suspect by 2020, we are talking about Imperial Polk County as a battleground county — and if you are from Florida, this can be a little hard to wrap your head around. I look forward to the JMart deep dive/tour of barbecue locations in Polk sometime in the late summer of 2020.

Over 1 million votes have been cast from the I-4 counties, with Democrats holding a 43-37 lead (just under 50K votes).

Overall, after one full weekend of early voting, here is how the I-4 counties look.

Volusia Weekend: 39-38-23 Dems — Overall: 41-38-21 GOP (R +3,773)
Seminole Weekend: 40-35-25 GOP — Overall: 43-36-21 GOP (R +6,767)
Orange Weekend: 48-28-24 Dems — Overall: 48-21-21 DEM (D +36,165)
Osceola Weekend: 48-27-25 Dems — Overall: 48-29-23 DEM (D +11,264)
Polk: 40-40-20 Dems — Overall: 42-39-19 GOP (R +2,346)
Hillsborough: 43-34-23 Dems — Overall: 43-37-29 DEM (D +15,670)
Pinellas: 39-37-23 GOP — Overall: 40-39-21 GOP (R +688)

South Florida

Overall this weekend, just shy of 150,000 people voted in the big-three southern counties. South Florida accounts for 954,495 votes, or about 26 percent of all ballots cast, but this weekend accounted for 31 percent of the votes cast Saturday and Sunday.

In total, Democrats won the weekend 49-27-25, winning a roughly 35,000-vote advantage. They finish the weekend with a South Florida plurality of over 200,000 votes.

Miami-Dade looked slightly more Democratic this weekend, which given the definitive advantage that the GOP has with vote-by-mail, should be the start of more of a trend. Broward and Palm Beach counties both had solid margins, but honestly, if I were running the HRC campaign, I would have liked to have seen bigger numbers. I do understand it rained there, but alas, there are only eight more days of voting.

Also, remember, Dade is very Dem-leaning NPA heavy, so the party margins there will always look lower than they likely are, in reality.

We also saw a significant overall NPA jump here, which should benefit the Democrats.

Broward had more NPA vote than Republicans, and Dade saw the largest percentage increase of NPA participation of any county in Florida.

Here is where the counties stand:

Palm Beach Weekend: 47-27-24 DEM — Overall: 49-29-22 DEM (+41,620)
Broward Weekend: 57-21-22 DEM — Overall: 57-23-20 DEM (+112,775)
Miami-Dade Weekend: 43-29-28 DEM — Overall: 45-31-24 DEM (+53,518)


The key news: The Jaguars didn’t lose Sunday. So, what if they didn’t play, they still didn’t get a loss.

Democrats narrowly won the weekend, carrying a 260-vote plurality out of this weekend’s vote-by-mail and in-person early voting.

This cuts the Republican advantage to 2,600, or about 1.7 percent. The president will be here Thursday, which should help drive some early voting turnout for the Democrats.

Total votes in so far, just under 156K.

I still believe that Jacksonville has not seen the kind of turnout that Trump would need to return Duval to the kind of margins that Bush saw in 2000 and 2004, and the market is still underperforming a bit, but let’s see how this week goes.

Additional notes:

The electorate is still very white, though it trending in the right direction. Black voters (African-American and Caribbean) make up about 11 percent, Hispanics about 13 percent, and Whites about 71 percent.To give some sense of movement, the electorate was close to 80 percent White in vote-by-mail. In-person early vote has been about 15 percent Black and 13 percent Hispanic. This is good for Democrats, but could be better.

Democrats did have a good few days toward the end of the week with low-propensity voters. Now, 29 percent of their vote now comes from less-likely voters, compared to about 23 percent of Republicans, giving Dems about a 60,000-vote advantage here.

On the flip side, one challenge Democrats will face: While they hold a significant advantage regarding some available vote-by-mail votes (people still with ballots), almost half of their available VBM votes come from unlikely voters.

There is a real opportunity for Democrats to close the VBM gap — and in doing so, close the overall gap — and take a partisan lead, but they need to go chase those ballots.


Regarding media market distributions, the state is starting to look like it should. Fort Myers has come back to earth; last week it was almost 11 percent of all ballots cast, and now it is about 8.5 percent. By Election Day, that should land at roughly 6.7 percent.

Miami and Orlando continue to over perform projections, with the Miami DMA now at 20.6 percent of all votes, where honestly, I would have taken in the mid 19s. Orlando is now at 21.2 percent, which is high (I expected just at 20), but this seems to be a mixed bag, as Republican turnout is strong in the exurban counties around Orlando. Palm Beach has picked up a bit, but still is a little low.

And as for the secret Donald Trump vote, I-10 is catching up, but still struggling. Those markets now account for 16.4 percent of the total statewide vote, under the 19-20 where it should land.

Lastly, as for the millennial “issues” — Alachua continues to well exceed its Democratic partisan registration advantage, now holding roughly a 30-point lead in ballots cast.

Week Out Observations:

Back in the spring, I wrote a long blog about how Trump could win Florida. The reaction was rather swift, and frequently highly critical from my side. Well, he can definitely win Florida.

Do I think he will? No, I still believe the state has a built-in edge for Clinton, based largely on the demographics. I also think her turnout operation is much better. But nothing is a given, and can he win? Yes. If you don’t want President Trump, then get to work.

However, as I’ve warned several national Democrats, and told many in the media, I don’t think the Trump operation is as nonexistent as some on my side wanted to believe. The GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia here is a friend, and a smart guy. Take Trump out of it — their party has been doing this, and doing it well for 20 plus years, they aren’t going to lay down.

One other factor: There are a ton of critical down-ballot races. Add to the many Congressional races, every seat in the state House and state Senate are on the ballot. In other words, a lot of people are turning out voters.

Democratic voter registration advantage is about 200K less than it was in 2012, and about 350K less than it was in 2008. This, in part, explains why Republicans are still “ahead” at this point. But it is important to note a lot of that decrease comes from voters who switched parties — most of whom hadn’t voted for a Democrat since Carter or Kennedy, and the overall electorate is much more friendly to Democrats. This electorate could be as much as seven points more diverse than 2008, which is the reason I think she has a small built-in edge.

But it only works if people vote. Right now, the GOP is ahead of where I thought they would be — albeit not by a lot. It doesn’t mean Trump or Clinton is winning. Nope, it means it is a dogfight for turnout. So, if you want your candidate to win, go to the local field office and get to work.

I voted yesterday, so my election is over!

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Trial set to begin in Florida and Georgia’s fight over water

Florida and Georgia this week are taking their long-standing fight over the supply of water in their shared watershed to court. Arguments are expected to last for weeks, and the result could affect millions of people and major industries in both states.

The dispute centers on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The watershed drains nearly 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Florida claims that Atlanta and southwest Georgia farmers are using too much water and are hurting the oyster industry downstream. Georgia argues that limiting its water use will harm the economy.

The proceeding opens Monday before an official appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court.


The dispute focuses on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which drains nearly 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers meet at the Georgia-Florida border to form the Apalachicola, which flows into the bay and the Gulf of Mexico beyond.

The states cite dramatically different reasons for the lower flows of water across the border from Georgia to Florida.

Florida says water use has risen sharply in the booming metropolitan Atlanta area and in southwest Georgia’s agricultural industry, harming the environment and downstream industries, including oyster fishing.

Georgia’s lawyers say the state’s water use isn’t to blame for lower flows into Florida’s Apalachicola Bay, and that limiting its use of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers will jeopardize Georgia’s economy.



Florida is asking for a cap on Georgia’s water use, with added restrictions during drought. Attorneys plan to argue that Georgia is to blame for lower river flows crossing the border to Florida, harming the environment and causing a collapse of the oyster fishing industry. Florida says that conservation measures in Atlanta and elsewhere will help downstream areas without affecting the city’s growth.



Georgia wants Florida’s request for a cap denied. The state argues that Florida can’t prove Georgia is to blame for downstream issues. Among other things, Georgia faults Florida’s management of oyster fishing.



The case went directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since the justices don’t have the time to review hours of testimony and reams of evidence, they appoint a “special master” to do it.

Ralph Lancaster, the official hearing the case from his home state of Maine, has repeatedly urged the states to sit down and find a settlement. On a conference call this month, he again warned attorneys on both sides that a ruling will make at least one “and perhaps both” states unhappy.

After both sides present their evidence and arguments, Lancaster will make a recommendation to the Supreme Court. The justices then review his findings and any rebuttals by the states before issuing a final decision. That process can take months, pushing the case into 2017.



Sidney Ansbacher, a Florida attorney specializing in environmental law, says “the future of the region” will be affected.

If Florida’s request for a cap is granted, it could be “catastrophic” for metro Atlanta and Georgia industries, he said. Without a cap, Florida’s shellfish industry dependent on fresh water flowing from the Apalachicola river into the bay may disappear, Ansbacher said.

“It’s a zero-sum game,” Ansbacher said.

Ryan Rowberry, an associate law professor at Georgia State University, called economics “the biggest driver” of the litigation. In Florida, oyster fishing and other industries depend on the waterways. Georgia’s attorneys say a cap would affect industries that contribute almost $18 billion annually to the state’s economy, including peanut, cotton and corn farming.

Environmental groups in both states also are concerned about the trees, fish and other species that could be affected.

Gil Rogers, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center in Alabama and Georgia, said his organization and others want to make sure the overall health of the massive river system is considered — not just the economic effects in each state.

Florida environmental groups asked in recent court documents that the court “protect the Apalachicola region,” including 30 animal species and 103 plant species considered endangered or threatened.



It’s unlikely.

If the Supreme Court ultimately rules, Rowberry and others expect continuing legal disputes. Court decisions, Rogers said, aren’t flexible enough to deal with all the factors affecting water supply in the region like climate change or shifts in rain patterns. And if one state isn’t satisfied with the other’s actions, resolution can only come from a court.

Rowberry said the two states still can try to come up with an agreement about water use. A contract could be designed to last decades and allow for mediation if one state “doesn’t hold up their end of the deal,” he said. But so far, neither state has been willing.

Alabama also indicated in recent court documents that it could file its own suit against Georgia in the future. The eastern part of the state uses the watershed, and Alabama sided with Florida in a friend of the court filing, encouraging a cap on Georgia’s use.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Defense leads Florida to victory over Georgia in annual rivalry

The impressive defense of the Florida Gators bared its teeth again Saturday in their annual rivalry game against Georgia.

The Gators held Georgia to only 21 yards rushing on 19 carries in a resounding 24-10 victory over the Bulldogs. For Florida coach Jim McElwain, it was a win over former co-coach Kirby Smart. The two coached together at Alabama.

The Gators are second in the nation on defense, trailing only Michigan.

“People pick this team apart quite a bit and this and that,” McElwain said. “Guys, this is a good football team. The Florida Gators are a good team, all right. I’ll go with these guys against anybody and we’ll figure out a way to get it done, and that’s the way they are in that locker room.”

Georgia took leads of 3-0 and 10-7, but the Gators eventually wore down the Bulldogs’ offense, holding Georgia to 164 yards of total offense.

Florida wasn’t great itself on offense, gaining 246 yards. But the Gators scored the game’s final 17 points. Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway scored on short runs, and C‘yontai Lewis caught a 19-yard scoring pass from Luke Del Rio. Scarlett rushed for 93 yards on the day.

Florida is leading the SEC East at 6-1. The Gators play Arkansas Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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Steve Schale: Notes on the fifth day of early voting in Florida

To: FSU Fans, and the rest of America

From: Steve Schale

Re: 10 Days Out, and Clemson comes to Doak

*1 day since Gus Bradley should have been fired
*10 days until the election
*14 days until FSU basketball tips off

I apologize for the delay today. Before I wrote the first memo, I had a life planned for the last two weeks of the election. While that all changed, I did get up and run a half-marathon today.

After getting up at 4:30 a.m. and running 13 miles in the heat and South Georgia hills, yes, I am going to tell you that.

Tonight also is FSU/Clemson. If your team needs a head coach, the guy sitting three seats over and a row down is a football genius. If you don’t believe me, just come sit by me tonight and he will tell you.

On to the story.

Florida now has over 3.25 million votes. With the increased voter registration, I am adjusting my raw voter turnout projections, but even still, I think about 35 percent of all likely voters have already cast a ballot.

We also are heading into the weekend. Traditionally, Democrats do better with in-person early voting on weekends.

Friday looked like the rest of the week, with Democrats leading in in-person early voting, and Republicans leading with vote-by-mail.

Day 5 of in-person early voting looked like this: vote-by-mail: 128,058 (+1K from yesterday) votes, GOP won (43-36-21), or just under 10K votes.

In-person early vote: 265,310 votes (up about 1,500 from yesterday), Dems won (40-39-21) or just under 1K votes; 393,368 votes were counted, and GOP won the day by about 9,000.

This brings us into total votes — 3,258,034 — with leading GOP up about 0.6 percent. One other big-picture number: There are now almost 70,000 more Democrats in Florida with a vote-by-mail ballot they have not returned. Data does show Democrats have been returning theirs as quick, if not quicker than Republicans, but had a higher number of post-Oct. 1 requests.

Because Democrats have 5,000 more overall requests, the GOP VBM numbers should level out. Even at current lower Dem return rates, the GOP advantage should reduce by about 20,000 by Election Day, given the Dems larger number of outstanding ballots.


Looking at the usual benchmarks. I am going to do a deeper dive Monday after we see the weekend, so this will be quicker.


Friday was like the previous three days. Democrats won both the early vote and the vote-by-mail tabulations, and now carry a 13,300-vote lead (+6.4 percent), pushed again by strong in-person early voting. Over two-thirds of the votes Thursday came from in-person early voting, which is a good sign for Dems. And Dems are up about 600 votes Saturday through 1 p.m.

And again, why Hillsborough? Hillsborough has correctly picked 19 of the last 20 Presidents.


JMart, Dems won in-person early voting in Imperial Polk County for the fifth day in a row!

Heading into weekend, here is I-4 (north to south):

Volusia: 92,850 total votes (42R-38D-20 NPA)
Seminole 80,280 (44R-36D-20 NPA)
Orange 180,804 (48D-31R-21 NPA)
Osceola 50,673 (48D-29R-23 NPA)
Polk 89,599 (42R-39D-19 NPA)
Hillsborough 214,259 (43D-37R-20 NPA)
Pinellas 193,042 (39.6D-39.4R-21 NPA)

South Florida

Turnout in South Florida was solid again today. Between in-person early and vote-by-mail, more than 107K people voted.

From north to south:

Palm Beach 180,804 (49D-29R-22 NPA)
Broward  268,767 votes (58D-23R-19 NPA)
Miami-Dade 361,679 (45D-32R23 NPA


Republicans had a very good VBM day, but Dems edged out another EV win.

Duval: 125,152 votes (44R-42D-16 NPA)

Complete aside, President Obama comes to Jacksonville Thursday, eight years to the date after his last rally in Florida in 2008, on Nov. 3.

Final Voter Registration

The state just released the final voter registration numbers.

We go into the election with about 12.8 million voters.

By comparison, there were 11.9 million in 2012.

Right now, I am thinking turnout will be right around 2012 levels, so that would be just over 9.2 million votes. I might revise this next week as we get further into early votes.

Since August, Democrats increased their voter registration advantage by just under 70,000. The Democrats go into the election with just over a 327,000-voter advantage.

The state is now 38D-35R-27 NPA

Democrat’s top growth counties since August:

Miami-Dade (+26,343)
Broward (+18,456)
Orange (+15,545)
Hillsborough (+8,618)
Osceola (+5,046) — Near Orlando

Republican’s top growth counties:

Bay (+1,836) — Panama City
Okaloosa (+1,586) — Panhandle
Santa Rosa (+1,436) — Panhandle
Marion (+1,387) — between Gainesville and Orlando
Pasco (+1,342) — north of Tampa

Voters by ethnicity:

Black (African-American & Caribbean): 13.4 percent
Hispanic: 15.7 percent
White: 64.2 percent
Other: 6.7 percent

*Keep in mind, Hispanic in Florida is underrepresented by these statistics, as it is a self-identification. Surveys suggest in 2012, real Hispanic was closer to 16 percent of voters.

One last thing, the voters who joined the rolls since August are very diverse.

Of the growth in registration, it looked like this:

White: 44.7 percent (+220,493)
Hispanic 24.7 percent (+121,771)
Black 14.7 percent (+72,538)
Others: 15.8 percent (77,591)

Tomorrow’s memo will probably be late morning, unless FSU gets blown out and I get home early, in which case it will be midmorning, or unless they beat Clemson, which means it might come Wednesday.

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The Predictions: Deshaun Watson will lead Clemson past FSU

For two weeks, the FSU defense has been solid.

For two weeks, opponents have found the game as difficult as ever.

Ah, but if you are an FSU fan, you remember. You remember quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Chad Kelly and Quinton Flowers and Mitch Trubisky. You remember teams constantly kicking extra points.

And now comes Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Yikes.

Watson, one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy, has guided Clemson to a 7-0 record and the No. 3 ranking in the country. FSU, No. 12, will counter with Dalvin Cook and Deondre Francoise.

Two years ago, Watson threw for 266 yards against the Seminoles in a loss. Last year, he threw for 297 yards and ran for 107.

Clemson, however, has struggled at times this year. They had a hard time beating Auburn, Troy, Louisville, and N.C. State. So a trip to Tallahassee doesn’t seem as if it will be a cakewalk.

Look for FSU to stay close for three quarters. In the end, however, the defense that gave up 177 points in the team’s first five games is still vulnerable.

Prediction: Clemson 28, FSU 17

Florida vs. Georgia

Once upon a time, Florida’s Jim McElwain and Georgia’s Kirby Smart used to coach together under Nick Saban. These days, they’re both fighting for the SEC East title.

So far, Georgia’s move to hire Smart wasn’t, well, intelligent. The Bulldogs still have impressive pieces.

Florida’s defense, however, should be the best unit on the field again Saturday, especially if linebacker Jarrad Davis can play. Florida’s offense isn’t anything to brag about. Still, the Gators are 5-1 and the Bulldogs have lost three out of four, including last week’s game against Vanderbilt.

Prediction: Florida 20, Georgia 16

Miami at Notre Dame

The Hurricanes are on a three-game losing streak and have been beaten up across the defensive line.

Both teams believe this season could be a lot better. Notre Dame lost by three to Texas, by eight to Michigan State, by three to Duke and by seven to both N.C. State and Stanford. Miami lost by one to FSU.

At home, Notre Dame should have just enough to win.

Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Miami 24

Navy at USF

When they play tonight, the Bulls will be trying to regain the momentum they lost against Temple last week.

USF still can move the ball with Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack. But Navy never seems to beat itself, which is one reason the Midshipmen are ranked No. 22 in the country. There are still large questions about a USF defense that gives up too many points.

Prediction: Navy 27, USF 26

UCF at Houston

The Knights are growing as a team, but they aren’t quite ready for a team as explosive as Houston. Look for the Cougers to dominate early.

Prediction: Houston 37, UCF 20

Western Kentucky vs. FAU

The Hilltoppers (5-3) won easily a week ago when quarterback Mike White hit 28 of 32 passes for 378 yards. The last time these two teams played, Western led only 14-13 at the half but then pulled away.

Prediction: Western Kentucky 35, FAU 21

Middle Tennessee at FIU

The Panthers can score, but it’s doubtful they can keep up with Middle Tennessee. Last week, the Blue Raiders upset SEC opponent Missouri as Brent Stockstill threw for 280 yards.

FIU, meanwhile, lost to Louisiana Tech.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, FIU 13

The Pros

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Running back Jay Ajayi has been impressive with back-to-back 200-yard games, something only four players in NFL history have done. But the going will be tougher against the Jets, who struggle on offense but have impressive pieces on defense.

Look for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be the difference, one way or another.

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Miami Dolphins 17

Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs have won two straight road games. With three home games in a row, it’s time the team established a home field advantage. That’s easier said than done, however. The Raiders have impressive weaponry on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: Raiders 27, Bucs 23

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