Newly released numbers in Florida indicate a head-to-head battle for the state’s 29 electoral votes.
Republicans account for about 654,000, or 41.5 percent of the votes, while Democrats account for 638,000, or 40.5 percent of the votes Tuesday morning, according to Politico Playbook.
Florida Republicans cast 3 percent more ballots than Democrats by absentee mail-in voting in 2o12, according to NBC News. But, by Nov. 1, 2012 (five days before the Nov. 6 election date), fortunes were reversed, with Democrats turning in 3 percent more ballots. With 43 percent of the 4.3 million votes belonging to Democrats, and 40 percent belonging to registered Republicans, the results were unquestionable.
The current 1 percent advantage maintained by Republicans may not hold as in-person voting begins this week. The past two election cycles reveal that while Republicans dominate the absentee-by-mail voting bloc, such advantages are not propelling Republican nominees to a Florida victory.
Republicans cast more votes that Democrats through absentee-by-mail by a margin of 49 to 33 percent, and yet, Arizona Sen. John McCain lost Florida to then-Sen. Barack Obama by almost 3 percent. Obama defeated Romney in Florida during the 2012 election, despite Romney outperforming the president with absentee-by-mail votes.
It is worth noting that in such a turbulent election year, it is hard to determine which percentage of Republicans are supporting the top of the ticket and Republican nominee Donald Trump, and the same can be said about Democrat candidates for public office, including presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who engaged in a bruising primary battle with insurgent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Florida voters are also choosing between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy in what has turned out to be a close Senate race. Rubio, who just months ago was viewed as the party establishment’s best bet to defeat Clinton in the presidential race, is now fighting to keep his seat after bowing out of the presidential race in the spring. Rubio officially endorses Trump, despite previously calling the Republican presidential nominee a “dangerous con-artist.”
The figures contradict statements from Clinton’s campaign staff, who have asserted that Clinton is doing exceptionally well with absentee-by-mail voters. “We’re seeing eye-popping vote-by-mail application numbers,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
The rhetoric coming out of the Clinton camp and assurances that the Democratic nominee is doing well with early voting may be an attempt to energize her Florida base, but also signals deep concern that the Sunshine state may be closer than the Clinton team wants to admit.
Important numbers will be released Monday (Halloween), which will include numbers on how many Democrats and Republicans vote early in-person, a group historically dominated by Democrats. Republicans do historically well with absentee-by-mail voters, while Democrats usually do well with in-person early voting.
While the new data does not provide enough insight as to whether or not Trump can win the crucial battleground state, it does push back against the widespread media narrative that the Trump campaign is dead.
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