First, the projection map has been updated. It has a lot more detail than previous maps, including turnout tabs. So, enjoy the new map. Also, there is going to be a new model with new methodology out (due to the changes in pre-Election Day polling). The old model will remain up, but the new model will be online sometime today.
As far as the election, yesterday’s numbers slightly favored Democrat, but the Republicans still have the edge. As I said in a previous article, Republicans have figured out early voting and are using it to their advantage. Overall, 22 counties have surpassed the early voting turnout rates of 2014. Fifteen counties have surpassed their VBM turnout rate. Twenty counties have passed their total 2014 pre-Election turnout rate. Today, a lot more counties will probably start falling into one of these categories.
Turnout Summary: As of this morning, 3,415,502 people have voted in the State of Florida. The turnout rate for Republicans is at 30.6%, while the Democrats are a 27.7%, and NPA/Minor parties at 16.79%. The Enthusiasm Gap is at -3.82%, favoring the Republicans, but with a .17% swing to the Democrats.
Bottom Line: The race remains close, but Republicans still have the advantage. In the model, a generic Republican statewide candidate would receive 48.63% of the vote, while a generic Democratic candidate would receive 48.37%, a gap of .26%, which is a small swing of .06% to the Democrats overnight.
Details: Yes, the overall pre-Election turnout is increasing, but we are seeing a lot of evidence that voters are changing their voting methods. For example, in Broward County, early voting turnout is up by 1.52% compared to 2014, while VBM turnout is down by 1.21%. And while early voting has skyrocketed, that doesn’t mean that all counties are favoring this method. In Collier County, the VBM turnout rate is up 1.31% compared to 2014, but early voting is down 3.75%.
Also, as in previous articles, I need to talk about the difference between the Enthusiasm Gap and projected vote. We had another day where the Enthusiasm Gap change was nearly three times larger than the projected vote model gap change. Looking at the numbers at a county level, it looks like the reason for this shift is not because of Democrats in North Florida turning out and voting Republican. In fact, North Florida turnout has been horrible for Republicans in comparison to 2014.
The problem seems to be specifically with Orange and Osceola County. In 2016, NPA voters comprised of 25.8% of pre-Election Day voters. This year, they are only 20.0% of the pre-Election Day electorate. This means that Democrats, who are doing well with turnout in both of these counties, are making up for the NPA voters who are not turning out, thus inflating Democratic vote composition but not the overall results. So, NPAs not showing up in Orange and Osceola (which usually favor Democrats) is probably main reason Democrats are behind on the projection model.
What to watch: Start watching to see if the VBM numbers plateau. They didn’t so much yesterday. This is particularly the case in Southwest Florida.