Since the World Series is going on, let’s use a baseball simile. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and the team that is losing is down by one run. They need to get a runner in scoring position, or at least on first base, tie up the game. Instead, the first batter goes three and out. That was Florida Democrats yesterday.
While Democrats are making some gains, they continue to be offset by Republican gains. According to the new projection model, Democrats have the lead in Seminole County now, but they lost the lead in Sarasota County. The small gains they are making in Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, and Broward Counties are being offset by Republican counties throughout the state. Broward has a current turnout rate of 16.92%, while Lee County has a turnout rate of 30.97%. If these trends continue for Democrats, they are going to have to rely on Election Day to win the election. Yes, it could happen because Election Day votes go against the incumbent party, but neither party has an incumbent running. Also, Election Day usually trends Republican.
Turnout Summary: As of this morning, 2,596,976 voters have turned out to vote, which is a turnout rate of 19.56%. We are only 196,124 VMB votes away from beating the 2014 VMB numbers. We are also 394,243 early votes away from breaking the numbers from 2014’s early vote totals. The turnout rate for Republicans is currently 23.57%, while Democratic turnout is 20.92%. NPA/Minor party turnout is at 12.57%. The Enthusiasm Gap is at -4.64%, still favoring Republicans but a decent .37% swing to the Democrats overnight.
Bottom Line: As of this morning, a projected Democratic candidate would receive 48.13% of the vote, while a generic Republican candidate would receive 48.83% of the vote. This is a .7% gap between Democrats and Republicans, which represents a Democratic swing of .09%, not nearly enough to make any real impact.
Details: Pure and simple, Republican counties are performing better in early voting than they had previously. In 2014, Republicans represented 39.6% of the overall early voting numbers, while Democrats represented 42.4%, a 2.8% gap favoring Democrats. This year, Republicans are at 41.89% of the early vote, while Democrats are at 41.29%, a gap favoring Republicans by .7%. The Democrats have improved their VBM numbers, but the Republicans still have the lead. And, I’m sorry, but as they say in racing, if you have a car that goes slow in the corners and slow on the straights, you aren’t going to win. That is the situation Democrats find themselves in right now. Oh, and remember, not all Democrats are going to vote Democratic…that whole North Florida thing. Therefore, it is actually worse than it looks.
Also, the Enthusiasm Gap being smaller than the projected vote swing gap for Democrats is not a good sign. This means that more Democrats turned out to vote, but in places where these Democrats are more likely to vote Republican. That is why only looking at voter registration numbers, especially in North Florida, is an extremely flawed method of determining vote choice in Florida.
What to watch: We have now moved beyond the “who is winning what county” phase. Yes, there might be some changes. In the next few days, Duval County might flip to the Democratic side (as I don’t see any current Democratic counties flipping to the GOP for the rest of the pre-election period). But besides that, the margins are starting to become set in stone. With that being the case, turnout is the most important thing to watch from this point forward. Remember what I said about Broward and Lee Counties at the start of this post? That is where the battle is now. And if Democrats cannot outperform Republicans in simple turnout, then Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott is a strong possibility.