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

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To: Fans of Florida

From: Steve Schale, Exhausted and Disgusted Jaguars Fan

Re: 11 Days Out

*0 days until Gus Bradley is fired, God willing.

*11 days until the election

*15 days until FSU basketball tips off.

Another poll showed Clinton with a three-point lead. This means that since Bloomberg declared Trump leading Florida, four polls have come out showing Hillary Clinton leading by three or four points.

(By the way, don’t ask the Jaguars’ head coach what a lead is, he wouldn’t know.)

This means 23 of the last 26 polls show Clinton leading, two show it tied, and one showed Donald Trump ahead.

So, on to early voting. Sometime this morning, the three-millionth ballot of the 2016 election will be cast in Florida. We will also today cross another significant milestone: It is entirely possible we will finish this day with over one-third likely 2012 votes from Florida having already been cast.

Also, right now there are two things consistent in Florida: midweek performance in early voting, and Jaguars football. Thursday was just like Tuesday and Wednesday — solid, with little change in the overall picture. And the Jags, well they just suck.

Day 4 of in-person early voting brought a solid day for turnout.

Here are the totals:

Vote-by-Mail: 127,298 votes, GOP won (42-37-21), or just under 6K votes.

In-Person Early Vote: 263,964 votes, Dems won (40-39-21) or just over 3K votes.*

In total: 391,222 votes were counted, and GOP won the day by about 2,600*

*Note: There is a discrepancy between the state elections site and Broward’s local site that would get this pretty close to a wash for the day. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if yesterday’s totals change during the day.

This brings us into total votes 2,864,666 with leading GOP up just over 14K votes. (+0.5 percent).

The electorate looks 40.9 R — 40.4 D — 18.7 NPA.

Another big-picture number: There are almost 60,000 more Democrats in Florida with a vote-by-mail ballot that they have not returned. In total, about 57.3 percent of Republican VBM ballot requests have been returned, compared to 52.6 percent of Democrats.

SIDE NOTE FROM STEVE TO DEMOCRATS: [RETURN YOUR DARN BALLOTS!]

Right now, it is likely that 31-32 percent of all the votes that will be cast this election in Florida are in the door.

Looking at the usual benchmarks:

Hillsborough

Another pretty typical day in Hillsborough. We won both the early vote and the vote-by-mail tabulations, and now carry a 12,500-vote lead (+6.8 percent). In-person early vote is driving this, with Democrats leading it by almost nine points. Two-thirds of the votes Thursday came from in-person early voting. And keep in mind, Hillsborough has correctly picked 19 of the last 20 Presidents.

I-4

Yesterday played out to form, with Democrats winning in-person early voting in every county along the interstate, except for Seminole.

And yes, JMart, that means we won in-person early voting in Imperial Polk County for the fourth day in a row!

On the other hand, Democrats and Republicans split the vote-by-mail returns, with Dems winning Hillsborough, Orange, and Osceola; and GOP winning Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, and Volusia.

For the day, 108,000 votes in all were cast in the I-4 counties, with D’s winning 41-38-21.

In total, the I-4 counties have contributed nearly 800,000 ballots, or about 28 percent of all votes cast in Florida, with Democrats holding a 42.4-37.5 percent (+38,000) lead.

Couple of notes

Republicans had a better-than-average day in Orange County, losing the county by 14 points. However, Dems continue to hold an 18-point edge in early votes.

I’ve had several special requests for Pinellas, which is almost entirely a vote-by-mail county, and which also has exceptionally close partisan voter registration. Yesterday, the GOP narrowly won the day (+500 votes), but Democrats still lead the county (+300).

South Florida

Turnout in South Florida was solid again today. Between in-person early and vote-by-mail, more than 45,000 people voted in Dade County, and 41,000 voted in Broward County. In total, well over 100,000 votes came in from the big three South Florida counties.

Broward: Democrats now lead by 69,900 votes, or 58-23 percent lead. In-person early vote surpassed vote-by-mail returns today, which is good news for Democrats, as Democrats currently lead in-person early vote by 60-21. With 11 days of voting, plus Election Day, this is a good place to be.

Dade: Democrats increased their lead in Dade to just under 40,000 votes, after a 46-31-23 D-R-NPA day. Remember, Dade has an exceptionally high percentage of Dem-leaning NPA voters, so while the county should end up being close to Broward in final vote margin, you won’t see it as acutely in the daily partisan differences. In-person early is driving the Dems in the right direction, with the fourth consecutive day of 30K plus votes, and Dems winning those votes by nearly 20 percent.

And in Palm Beach, Dems won the day 47-30, and continue to lead 50-29, after nearly 19,000 more people voted.

Duuuuuuval

First, my Jaguars are abysmal. The only thing more offensive than the bile-colored uniforms they wore on TV is the quality of play. If Shad Khan doesn’t fire Gus Bradley this week, I would strongly suggest Hillary Clinton promise to sign an executive order removing him as head coach. She will win the county hands-down.

Overall, I do love the Duval numbers. Democrats won the day, albeit narrowly, while the GOP continues to hold a narrow lead — and a narrow lead won’t do it for them. There are only so many places where Trump can grow from the Romney numbers, and Duval is one of them. So far, he isn’t doing it.

Some other points

Be sure you are following my buddy Dan Smith (Election Smith) from the University of Florida. He has some great numbers.

He’s brought up the point that the electorate needs to get more diverse for Clinton, which is a point I agree with. I will note, however, that VBM tends to be exceptionally white, so traditionally the electorate gets more diverse as the election gets closer. For example, going into in-person early voting, the electorate was about 80 percent white, and it is down to about 72 percent. I suspect after the first weekend we will see a big jump in diversity.

Dems continue to lead with first-time and low-propensity voters — about 40,000 more Dems in this category have come out to vote so far. Again, I suspect the weekend will be good to this stat.

Here is an interesting look at the electorate. I ran a comparison of what the composition of the electorate currently looks like by county, and compared it to voter registration, and here are the counties where Democrats are most over-performing:

Alachua (Dems registration is +19, votes are +30 — net +11)

Palm Beach (net +6.5 percent)

Broward (net +6 percent)

Sarasota (net +5.7 percent)

Orange (net 4.7 percent)

The biggest one of note, Alachua, is also home to East Florida Seminary.

Two last things on my global view of the election.

I don’t think people should expect Democrats to have a “big” lead going into E-Day — in part because of the nature of the electorate. In both 2008 and 2012, the Dems had a much larger voter registration advantage than 2016. In part, this is because we had a lot of white Democrats, many of whom last voted for either Carter or Kennedy. They finally switched in big numbers, so we are left with a coalition that is far more predictable and diverse. Also, both Black (African-American and Caribbean) and Hispanic voters are registering NPA in higher numbers, which is much about society going away from institutions as anything. So just keep this in mind.

Secondly, my working assumption is that HRC had a 1-1.5 advantage in Florida, based simply on demographics. I still believe this. Add in Trump’s struggles with college-educated whites, and you see a lot of polling at 3-4, which feels about right. Nothing in the data we’ve seen so far is surprising, and I still think we are headed that way. But let’s revisit over the weekend.

And lastly, thank you for all the kind notes this week. This is my favorite time of year, and I appreciate the notes.

Tomorrow I am running a half-marathon in the morning, so I will tweet out some data, and get the memo out later in the day.

And God willing, the Jaguars will have a head coach.

And pro tip: Pick Kevin Harvick this week in your fantasy leagues.

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