Oct 21 2016

Florida Early Voting Data Shows GOP Ahead Of 2012

Published by at 5:49 pm under 2016 Elections,All General Discussions

In Obama’s 2012 reelection the Democrats produced more “early voting” ballots in Florida than the GOP did (obviously these are not votes for a candidate, but simply ballots by party ID). They led the GOP by 3% last cycle.


Votes: 4.3 million

Democrats: 43%

Republicans: 40%

That edge in early voting no doubt helped push Obama over the top in Florida to beat Romney:

                                      President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
Popular vote       4,237,756   4,163,447
Percentage        50.01%   49.13%


Note the actual vote difference in 2012 was very small = 74,309.  The early voting ballot tally for the Dems represented a lot more than the difference = 129,000. Keep this in mind as we look at this year’s data.

This year the FL Democrats ARE NOT doing as well as they did in 2012 in early voting (per this site). This year the GOP is ahead in ballots requested AND ballots returned (so far). The table below is the data from the FL site with additional information (click to enlarge):

FL Early Vote 10_1_16

The way FL presents their statistics is a little confusing. The top row is the number of ballots requested, but not yet returned. The second row is the number of ballots returned = votes cast by Vote-by-Mail. Everyday both rows change. So to compute the total potential ballots you need to sum the first two rows, which I did in the 3rd row.

As of today, the GOP is returning 2% more of the ballots than the Democrats (middle row percentages). This is nearly completely opposite the trend in 2012. Moreover, GOP voters requested more ballots than Democrats (bottom row percentages).

Now I draw your attention to the blue box in the middle row. That is the number of returned ballots out of the overall total pool of ballots requested (3rd row). So 26.5% of all requested ballots have been returned.

If you are familiar with election night results, you know you really cannot get a solid feel for any state race until at least 25% of the precincts report in. That is because you need a decent fraction of the total votes to be confident the trend you see will pretty much hold.  The closer you get to 90% the more stable the vote percentages become. I usually consider the race called at 50% (though you have to watch for late reporting large precincts).

Interpreting this data then (which is dynamic) one could argue Hillary needs to replicate Obama’s lead of 3% in Early Voting to eek out a win in Florida. Not only is she not doing that, the fact the Democrat voters did not request a lot more ballots than the GOP voters means it is highly likely SHE CANNOT replicate Obama’s turnout. That would require the GOP to not return ballots in huge numbers – which is clearly not happening.

In case you are wondering:

  • The GOP voters have returned 28% of requested GOP ballots
  • The Dem voters have returned 27% of requested Dem ballots
  • The “Other Party” voters have returned 29% of their requested ballots
  • The “No Party” voters have returned 22% of their requested ballots

So the Dems are returning ballots at about the same rate as the GOP.

Word of caution – there is still actual early voting at a ballot box to kick in. So while this is a good sign, it is not a predictive sign.

Note: the numbers listed from 2012 were reported Nov 1st, 2012 – before any votes were counted!


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