Tim Saler, the Deputy Campaign Manager for Gov. Rick Scott wrote a mid-game pep talk for staff. He dismisses mainstream media coverage of polling data indicating that voter preference trends appear to be breaking in favor of challenger Charlie Crist and asserts that in terms of votes already cast, “we’re winning.”
Dated Thursday, Saler notes that 260,000 voters have already cast ballots and Republican absentee voters are doing so in greater numbers than Democrats.
Saler notes that at this point in the campaign in 2010 9-percent of Democratic absentee ballots had been returned compared to 9.7 percent of GOP ballots. This year the difference is more than +-3.7 for Republicans.
“Historically the GOP get-out-the-vote effort is superior to the Democrats. If early indications show Republicans with an advantage it may indicate Democrats have failed to improve on their performances in 2010 and 2006.
Supervisors of Elections had until Oct. 7 to mail out absentee ballot requests. For early requests, absentee ballots can’t be sent to voters until 35 days before the election and no later than 28 days. Voters can request one be mailed up to the 6-th day before the elections and that provision is significant to consultant Steve Vancore.
Vancore expects the Democrats to establish a clear advantage by Election Day based on an absentee requestor program initiated by President Barack Obama’s two campaigns.
“These voters are easy to find and target . . . when I say easy of course nothing is easy when you are talking about hundreds of thousands of people,” said Vancore. “As a result of the Obama requestors still being out there, the Dems should match the GOP requests.”
Palm Beach County placed 162,000 ballots in the mail Tuesday.
“It took two 18-wheeler trucks to transport the ballots to the mailing center,” said Mary Cooney, public services director for the Supervisor of Elections office. “The quantity is much bigger this year, several thousand more than in 2012.”
Four years ago absentee ballots went out on Oct. 2, a full five weeks before the election. This year the Palm Beach ballots were in the mail four weeks before the Nov. 4 election.
Democrats enjoy a more than 2 -1 registration advantage over Republicans in Palm Beach County. Next door in Broward County, absentee ballots were mailed Oct. 7. Democrats have a 3 -2 edge on the GOP among the county’s more than 800,000 voters.
Given that the voters in those two counties were receiving their ballots at the same time Saler was writing his memo it is quite possible the analysis, like most mid-game pep talks, is a bit skewed.