The story of the election in Florida thus far is that No Party Affiliates and Hispanics who sat out (or who’ve registered since the 2012 General Election) appear to be much more engaged in the Florida election than other partisan or racial/ethnic groups.
Over 1/3 NPAs — 33.7% — who’ve already voted (EIP or VBM) in Florida through yesterday, Saturday October 29, did not cast a ballot in the Sunshine State in 2012.
In contrast, only 18.2% of Republicans who’ve voted thus far didn’t vote in 2012; 1/5 Democrats who’ve voted EIP or ABS through yesterday sat out 2012.
So, although overall numbers through the first six days of EIP (and months-long VBM ballots coming in) aren’t looking terribly robust for Democrats–they’re down 23.5k votes to Republicans — it appears that they are mobilizing a larger share of “new” voters.
The Republican lead thus far, on the other hand, is being floated by disproportionately by likely voters, that is, those who voted in the 2012 General Election. Republicans are also cannibalizing 2012 Election Day voters at a higher rate than Democrats: 18.7% of the 1.51m Republicans who’ve voted thus far in Florida waited in 2012 to cast a ballot on Election Day; 16.8% of the 1.43m Democrats who’ve voted to date voted on Election Day four years ago.
Similar trends can be seen along racial/ethnic categories of voters. Over 29% of the 476k Hispanics who’ve cast ballots thru yesterday are either new to the registration books or skipped the 2012 election. This is true for only 1/5 of the 2.5m white voters who’ve voted, and 17% of the 391k black voters who’ve cast ballots thus far in 2016.
So, what does this all mean?
Florida’s electorate is dynamic. Millions of new voters have registered since the 2012 General Election. Florida’s electoral rules are also fluid, changing back and forth since the 2008 election. As such, the modes of voting by Florida voters is in flux, with voters shifting from one method to another (as I’ve published extensively elsewhere).
As a result, one should be weary of pollsters who model their surveys on expected vote using 2012 voting patterns (if they even have them!), as objects in the mirror may appear closer (or farther) than they they really are.
All I’ll say is there still lots of voting to be done in Florida.