Steve Schale: Updated early turnout numbers suggest more good news for Florida Democrats

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Steve Schale’s updated voter turnout memo, which includes Friday numbers, brings a little more good news for Democrats and the Charlie Crist campaign.

The continued trend is toward the Democrats, Schale says, where early voters have now closed the GOP advantage in voters to 9.1 percent.

This represents a substantial drop from the beginning of the week, where the number was 13 as of  Monday.

On the same day in the 2010 campaign, the Republican advantage was 18.5, meaning the gap is now less than half of what it was four years ago, when Rick Scott won by only 61,500 votes.

Schale notes that Palm Beach County data is not included, so chances are good that the 9.1 number might fall even further.

Early and absentee ballot voting in Broward County — a traditional Democratic stronghold — continues at a steady pace.

Compared to 2010, Democrats have doubled their numbers in Broward, bringing their advantage over the GOP to 28 points. At the same point in the last gubernatorial election, it was 15 points.

Across the state, the numbers are just as encouraging.

According to Schale, compared to this point in 2010, the Democrats have improved the margin with the GOP in 16 counties by more than 10 points. They also improved standings in 55 out of 67 counties total.

In addition, 12 counties showing Republicans improvement over 2010 are relatively minor, equaling less than 1.4 percent of all votes cast statewide to date.

Counties showing some of the best Democratic turnout gains are around Orlando: Orange, Seminole and Osceola. Two of them, Orange and Osceola, were among those in the  top seven worst in turnout for 2010.

Infrequent, or “sporadic” voters, in Central Florida are also turning out larger numbers for 2014, becoming what Schale calls a “new voting coalition.”

Forty-six percent of these sporadic, non-traditional voters are non-white, who traditionally lean toward the Democrats. With this new voting bloc, Democrats have taken an advantage by more than 18 points.

Schale also points out that Republicans have consistently been comparing voter turnout numbers of 2014 to those of 2012, a presidential election cycle where participation is usually higher.

“Comparing pre-election models in an off year to a presidential year is also simply comparing apples to oranges,” Schale writes, “though part of me appreciates the fond memories of that win.”

Since Saturday’s margin is now at 9.1, and dropping, apparently the GOP does not want to compare this election to 2010, the last statewide they won — although by only 61,500 votes.

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 HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.