One day of data certainly does not make a trend. Two days of data could just be an anomaly. But three days of an unprecedented level of returned ballots by Republican voters suggests there is, in fact, a GOP surge in the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
As explained at length in three previous posts (here, here, and here), something is afoot in CD-13. In just the previous three days, there have been 14,553 ballots returned to the Supervisor of Elections.
A surge this large and a week before Election Day is out-of-the-ordinary in Pinellas County elections. It was not present in St. Petersburg’s 2013 municipal race. It was not present in the 2012 general election.
Drilling down into those fourteen thousand ballots returned the last three days, it’s clear the trend is moving – decidedly – in the GOP’s favor.
As of last Friday, the Republican early-vote advantage was less than two thousand votes (36,370 vs. 34,487). As of Thursday morning, it’s more than three thousand (44,669 vs. 41,423). That’s a big shift in a short period of time.
Some observers, including the Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo, point out that the GOP advantage in returned ballots was about the same percentage it was at the beginning of the early voting period. And they are essentially right. However, 2% of 10,000 votes is not the same thing as 3% of 110,000 votes.
These numbers only represent a three-day trend, but, if it keeps up, it could be a very late night next Tuesday.