Steve Schale: Democrats can squeak out a win, if they keep up this pace

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In Steve Schale’s early vote update for Tuesday, trends continue to look good for Democrats.

The gap between Republicans and Democrats in early vote and absentee ballots is 7.1 points, down from 7.6 points on Monday and 13 points the previous Monday.

Compared to the same day in the 2010 gubernatorial race, the GOP advantage was 17.1 points.

Schale notes that the Republican edge is down 78K ballots than in 2010 – when Rick Scott won by just 61,500 votes.

Democrats are benefiting from an expanding electorate.  In the race so far, about 29 percent of Democratic voters were “sporadic,” who did not participate in 2010. For the GOP, that number is 20 percent.

A clear trend in 2014 is that voters not affiliated with a major party are starting to show up to the polls.

Forty percent of NPA voters did not vote in 2010, and the NPA share of the vote is up from just under 14 percent at this point in 2010 to 17 percent today.

Schale suggests this is coming straight from the GOP as the Republican electorate has decreased since 2010. Democrats also have a nearly 30,000 advantage in the additional numbers of voters.

In a recent memo, the GOP said Democrats must enter Tuesday’s Election Day with a huge lead to win, similar to both 2008 and 2012.

Schale says that is nonsense, offering Gov. Rick Scott’s history as proof.

Scott won in a “historical tsunami,” where Republicans made it to Election Day with both a 12-point, 275K vote edge for Scott to win.

Democrats do not have to vote in a larger number than Republicans for Crist to win, Schale points out.

If GOP and Democrats just tie among partisans to the end of the election, the Republican advantage would stand at about 2.5 points. Scott’s victory in 2010 was with a 5-point led in early votes on Election Day, to squeeze out a win 61,500 votes.

With Monday’s near-parity, Schale says it is unlikely the GOP will gain anywhere near that margin through he does expect a slight uptick in advantage from Tuesday to Thursday.  As contrast, he notes Republicans gained about 15,000 votes during weekdays in Week 2 of the 2010 election, so he would be surprised if the same thing did not happen this time around.

“Even the most partisan Republicans are now admitting this race is at toss-up,” he says. “A major change from even 2-3 weeks ago.

“But there is one sure way for Democrats to lose this race: not voting. So get out and vote.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.