Morning must-read: Is the ‘Fasano Effect’ at play in today’s HD 36 special election?

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Pasco County voters will cast their ballots today to replace former Rep. Mike Fasano in the Florida House.

Looking at the latest, final batch of data about the early and Absentee Voters (EAVs) from this race, it’s clear that this race will come down to Election Day turnout.

It also appears that there could be a ‘Fasano Effect’ in play. 

Currently, turnout is at 11.3% (10,702 total votes have been cast by either Early or Absentee Vote). Of this, the overall Republican vote advantage is currently at 331 votes.

However — and this could be the skunk at the picnic for Republicans — as many as 3,600 (or 36%) of the ballots cast during the EAV period are low propensity voters and not the type of electors typically seen in a special election. Normally in special elections, participation is mostly limited to high propensity voters, or Super Voters, as opposed to the typical general electorate. This creates an atmosphere where the turnout is low and the partisans tend be loyal and vote party line.

Yet this block of 3,600 voters is comprised of permanent absentee requestors from past general elections. While typically in special elections their ballots wouldn’t be returned, something has changed in HD 36.  Its anyone’s guess as to which ground game did the better job in targeting, communicating and mobilizing these voters, and it’s difficult to predict the party loyalty of these voters because of all the mess that’s going on up in Washington. 

Could this be the ‘Fasano Effect’? Is the former state Representative driving turnout among atypical voters who don’t normally participate in special elections?

Or is the higher-than-normal participation among NPAs a reaction to the government shutdown and/or the recent implementation of Obamacare?

For Amanda Murphy to win tonight, the ‘Fasano Effect’ has to be in play. Unfortunately, predicting the behavior of independent voters is as difficult as herding cats.    

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.