Daniel A. Smith, Seth C. McKee, and M. V. “Trey” Hood III, “Election Daze: Voting Modes and Voter Preferences in the 2016 Presidential Election,” Florida Political Chronicle 25:2 (2018), 123-141.

ABSTRACT: To say that the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election was a surprise to many political experts would easily qualify as an understatement for the ages. Nonetheless, in defense of the political handicappers, there is notable evidence that the dynamics of voter choice in the days leading up to the last day of voting were differentiable from preferences registered on Election Day. That is, in some states it would seem that Hillary Clinton (Democrat) was advantaged by early voting and Donald Trump (Republican) was favored by voters who came to the polls on Election Day. This paper draws on aggregate- and individual-level data from Florida to examine voting across racial/ethnic groups, distinguishing between votes cast on Election Day with those cast early in-person and by mail in the 2016 Presidential Election. The paper also compares variation across modes of voting in 2016 with 2012 county-level Presidential Election returns. By leveraging original datasets that merge the modes of voting for different groups with aggregate presidential results, as well as using 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) individual-level data, we are able to determine the extent to which the story of Trump’s historic Presidential victory hinged on the support he garnered from voters who showed up on the final day of voting.

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