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Steve Hurm battling cancer, wife Gwen Graham announces

Tallahassee lawyer Steve Hurm, general counsel to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and husband to U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, is battling stage 4 prostate cancer, she announced.

Graham, who has openly discussed her interest in running for Florida governor next year, announced Hurm’s condition at a presidential rally in Tallahassee that featured Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton Monday, and again in a campaign communique she sent to supporters Tuesday morning.

“My husband, Steve, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Our friends, family, and community have been incredibly supportive as he fights back against the disease. We can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support,” Graham stated in an email campaign update that included a picture of a balding Hurm and her getting ready to vote.

Hurm is a former police officer who went back to school and stayed in college all the way through law school, and has practiced law both privately and in various capacities for the state, including as counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In both the Biden rally and the email, Graham praised Biden for turning his own family cancer battles into his “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, aimed at making a cancer cure as high a scientific priority for the government as was a manned flight to the moon in the 1960s. Graham also used both occasions to urge people to support the Democrats who back more medical research, such as Cancer Moonshot.

“I had made the decision that I would be very personal talking about this because if we, in our experience, can help anyone, or if we, in our experience, can put a focus on the importance of medical research into a host of illnesses we suffer from,” we should, she said. “The cost associated with research is so insignificant compared with the cost associated with caring for folks who have cancer, or who have Alzheimer’s or who have a host of other illnesses. Not only the cost of the treatment, but the cost on the families, and the caregivers.

“So it’s another example of who you elect does make a difference. And in this one, it’s personal,” she said.

Steve Schale: Notes on Election Day in Florida

To: Anyone who has been reading my memos, Putin included.
From: Steve Schale
Re: We survived, and genuine thanks from me.

First, thank you all for following along for the last two weeks. This memo isn’t going to be a big data dump. For those, you can go back and read the other 12 versions of this thing.

But I want to start with a couple of numbers. First: 67. That is the percentage of the electorate that was white in 2012 — which by the way was down from 71 in 2008. My foundational assumption was if the electorate was more diverse than 2012, the basic coalition that got President Obama over the line in 2012 would hold. We finish early voting at 65.7 white, 15.3 Hispanic, and 13.1 black, with the black number closing in on the 2012 share, and the white number down.

Another thing working into play here is the explosion of turnout in Central Florida and Miami. If you reweighed the 2012 election by the current 2016 share of vote by market, Obama would have beaten Romney by almost twice the 2012 margin, or 1.5 percent. Under the same scenario, if you apply the 2012 margins by county to the 2016 turnout, you end up with a nearly two-point Clinton win. And none of this factors in the likelihood that race will drive larger margins in some areas — and smaller Republican ones in others.

So, as I think about this race, I try to get my head around what both candidates have going for them.

First, the factors that Clinton should feel good about:

The electorate is more diverse than 2012.

The Orlando area (Orange and Osceola) and Miami area (Broward and Dade) are turning out a full three points higher as a share of the state (29.3 percent, projected 26.15 percent).

While Republicans talked about Trump‘s ability to turnout low-propensity voters, it is Clinton who has turned out 250,000 more low-propensity voters.

NPA voters, making up the largest share they’ve ever made up in a Florida presidential election, are four points more diverse than the electorate at-large, including a 20 percent Hispanic share.

Voters who do not fit into one of the three main demographic categories are over 50 percent low propensity, and combined, are 77 percent Democratic or NPA.

North Florida, a Trump stronghold, is well under its performance targets, yet #Duuuval County, a GOP stronghold, is starting Election Day with a 4K voter Democratic edge. Again, this is why the president came to Duval. For Dems, it was never about winning there, but it is all about stopping the tide.

Factors Trump should feel good about:

The Fort Myers media market is over-performing its projected market share by about 1 percent

Democrats have a smaller raw voter lead going into Election Day. While I think there are structural reasons for this, it is still the reality.

There are more Republicans who voted in both 2008 and 2012 left to vote than Democrats (though among just 2012 voters, it’s basically a tie).

So, what does this mean?

Those are not equal ledgers, and pretty much everything Hillary Clinton wanted to have take place to position herself to win Florida has happened.

I was asked yesterday by a journalist, “So Schale, what would you be worried about if you were in her campaign?”

Truthfully, not a lot.

I am usually superstitious about turnout, so, of course, you worry about that. But at the same time, I also recognize that for Trump to win, he must have a ridiculously good day. I suspect when early voting is counted, she will have won the early vote by three to four points, and if early voting is, let’s say two-thirds of all the votes, it means Trump has to win tomorrow by six to eight points. I don’t think six to eight points is out there today for him.

If you look at the 3.2 million voters who in 2012 who haven’t voted yet, even if they all vote, Miami and Orlando remain well above both their 2012 share and their projected share, and I-10 (Trump Country) still falls below 2012. Also, Fort Myers comes back to life, finishing where it should, about 6.6 percent of the electorate.

In other words, even if all those 2012 voters come out — voters that lean a little Republican — the electorate is still regionally balanced better for Clinton than Obama, is more diverse than it was for Obama, and has an NPA voter pool that is more diverse than it was for Obama — or in any state where Trump is winning NPAs. Can Trump win today? Sure. Is it likely? Not really.

In other words, what should I be concerned about?

My good friend Tom Eldon, a longtime Florida pollster and fellow oenophile, asked me today “On scale of 1-10, how are you feeling?” If I was a 7 going into 2012 (just ask every reporter who heard me make my pitch for why Obama would win a state no one thought he would), and a 10 in 2008, Tom agreed he was also a 9 (sorry to out you bro).

It is this simple: If the Clinton operation hits its marks tonight, she’s going to win. It’s going to be close, probably in the 1.5-2.5 percent margin race. It’s hard to nail down exactly because I don’t have access to campaign polling (real polling, not public polls).

What to look for?

Data is going to come in very fast today after 7 p.m.

Two scenarios: because so much vote is early and will be reported early, if she’s going to win by say, two or more, I think it will be fairly apparent early. Under a point, it will be late.

Brian Corley in Pasco County usually reports first, VBM-ABS just after 7 p.m. Pinellas is early as well, and often Orange and Duval come not long after. In those counties, you are looking at 60-75 percent of the vote coming in at one time. If it is relatively close in Duval and Pasco, and she’s leading in Pinellas, and Orange is looking +20, she’s probably going to win, but it will take time for the race to play out.

If Orange is bigger than that, or if she starts out tied or with a lead in Duval, it could be faster.

Dade also will come, probably around 7:30 (though being Dade, it might be 7:30 Thursday). As I told a reporter tonight, I have no clue what to expect. She could be up 25, or she might be up 40, but I suspect it will be big. Former is probably a winning number; latter would be tough to beat. Broward should be about the same time. I suspect a margin north of 200K in the early voting.

Around 8 p.m., the Panhandle will come in. Romney won the Panama City and Pensacola media markets by about 180K votes. So, to be super generous, spot Trump 250K in the Central time zone. Unless there is something odd with the reporting — like Dade or Palm Beach report nothing before 8, if she is up in the 300K margin, it will be hard for Trump to overcome. If it is 400 at that point, you can go home.

But we will know early if it is a short night or a long night. But either way, I think it is a steep challenge for Trump. Since he is a golfer, I’ll put it this way: I think he’s basically facing a 250-yard carry over water, into a little wind, and that’s a shot he probably doesn’t have in his bag. God knows I don’t have that shot anymore.

Remember, you should track these on individual county sites until 8. The state won’t report data until polls close in the CST zone.

What is interesting about Florida is that the margins in counties are consistent over time. Outside of a handful of places, we have a decent sense of where it will land. For Trump to win, this basically has to happen: in 64 counties, he has to get the highest share of any Republican between 2000 and 2012, and he has to keep Clinton’s margins in Osceola, Orange, and Dade in the low 20s. He has major problems with the former, namely semi-large places like Sarasota, Polk, and Duval, which so no signs of being anywhere near their GOP highs. And with the latter, I don’t see how Clinton doesn’t stretch Obama’s margins in all three of those counties.

So with that, I think she wins. In fact, I am confident. I don’t think it’s a huge margin, but no win in Florida presidential or gubernatorial races these days is huge.

Lastly, I hate Election Day as a staffer. Other than trying to get your side on TV or ordering robocalls, there isn’t anything you can do other than trusting your operation, and hanging out in the boiler room all day is about the most horrible thing you can do. I spend most of Eday calling fellow hacks of both parties. I’ve always found it a strangely congenial day between warriors, mainly because we are all doing the same thing, pretty much sitting around.

Today, I take out my Turkish group, and we are going to see some campaigning, before heading to Tampa to watch the results. I will be providing some thoughts on early returns on Twitter, so pay attention.

Finally, and I mean this with all sincerity, I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to read my musings. When I wrote the first one last Tuesday, I did not plan on doing this daily, but it kind of took off. For me, writing is how I think things out, and so over the last two weeks, I’ve used these memos, not only to provide some data, but also to work through some of the emerging questions about this race. I also hoped to provide some context to the map, from the eyes of someone who has been trying to read defenses for a solid decade on the field of play.

I’d also like to thank my wife for putting up with me not paying attention to anything other than my spreadsheets for two weeks, my friends who have dealt with me constantly responding to emails and texts, and those who have found my voicemail full. I also want to thank my friend Dan Smith at UF for letting me bounce some theories and data off him, as well as other hack friends, including more than one Republican that I won’t name to protect the innocent, for being good checks on what I was writing. I don’t have staff, and 99 percent of the time, I was doing all my own data work, so forgive me if I didn’t respond to you on phone, email, or Twitter. I’ve been drinking straight from the proverbial fire hose since about 2 p.m. on Day 1 of in-person voting. As I’ve told many reporters, my respect for how they manage the flow of information has substantially risen — and thanks to all of you for your feedback over the last two weeks.

I’ve enjoyed having a life for most this cycle, but it was fun to be in the game for a few weeks. But mostly, having not slept more than five hours in two weeks, or eaten more than two or three proper meals, I’m ready for it to end. It’s time to put this shibacle of an election behind and hopefully start reducing the acrimony on both sides of the American debate.

So, until 2020 — if I am crazy enough to do this again, Happy Election Day, that singular day when we get to renew the greatest experiment in self-governing man has ever known.

Steve Schale: Final notes on early voting in Florida

To: The tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free of 2016

From: Steve Schale, Florida Sherpa

Re: It is almost drinkin’ time

I usually do a timeline here, but since I can’t even imagine life in a post-2016 election cycle world, I am simply going to say, Thank God America, we have damn near made it. Like the weed that I can’t get to stop growing up the side of my backyard fence, admit it, you thought this would never end. But it is going to. Yes. Tomorrow, we will have a winner. Just hang in there one more day.

On Sunday, I took my Turkish crew to the St. Mark AME Church for a Souls to the Polls service with Val Demings and Kamia Brown, after which we visited an Early Voting site nearby. The lines at noon were already quite long, so it came as no surprise that Orange County (Orlando) set a turnout record. And so did Osceola, and Hillsborough, Broward, Palm Beach, Duval, Leon, Pinellas and yes, Miami-Dade.

In fact, Miami-Dade had more people vote today than 33 counties have had voted in this entire election. The more than 760K people who voted in early voting is equal to almost 88 percent of the entire vote cast in the 2012 election. If Election Day turnout is just half of what it was in 2012, more than 1 million people will vote in Dade. I had it estimated at 900K, as did most people I spoke with.

In total, almost 260K people voted yesterday in the 15 counties that cast ballots. To put that in context, most days last week of in-person early voting barely eclipsed the total from 15 counties. Frankly, the turnout was stunning.

There will be some VBM ballots which will show up tomorrow at elections offices, but the below numbers are pretty much what we will see heading into E-Day.

So, let me try to make some sense out of this.

Total Ballots cast: 6,419,154

Total Vote by Mail: 2,549,633 (41.5 percent)

Total Early Vote: 3,869,521 (58.5 percent)

Democrats: 2,558.072 (39.85 percent)

Republicans: 2,470,823 (38.49 percent)

NPA: 1,390,259 (21.66 percent)

Total Margin: DEM +1.36 percent

How big is the final weekend for Dems?

Friday: Dems +0.13 (+7K)

Saturday: Dems +0.59 (+32K)

Sunday: Dems +1.36 (+87K)

To repeat from yesterday, my go-to model for this cycle has been 40D-39R-21NPA. NPA’s are going to outpace it, but I still think +1 DEM is safe.

And when you add Sunday, here is how the NPA tracked over the last week

After Sunday: 21.66 percent

After Sat: 21.35 percent

After Fri: 20.55 percent

After Thurs: 20.2 percent

After Wed: 19.8 percent

After Sunday: 19.3 percent

Right now, I think about 67 percent percent of the likely electorate has voted. Late last week, I predicted 70 percent, but to be fair, I had it at 9.2M turnout late last week. At that turnout, EV ended up at 69.7 percent, so that prediction was almost OK. I do think 9.5 million is where it lands — that is roughly ’08 level turnout (exact ’08 would be 9.55M). Given the sheer numbers of low-propensity voters, it could go beyond that, but honestly, I would be surprised (albeit pleasantly).

So, let’s dive into the usual benchmarks.

Hillsborough

Hillsborough had a record day, with Dems leading the day by a 3,500-voter plurality. NPA voters made up 30 percent of the voters yesterday, which is remarkable, outpacing NPA registration at 28.

All in all, the Dems will go into Eday with a seven-point voter registration advantage, which is slightly more Republican than the county’s voter registration statistics. D’s maintain an eight-point voter registration advantage in the county. Keep in mind, the reason I use Hillsborough is because it is the recent benchmark — the only county won by Bush twice and Obama twice.

And Hillsborough is doing a nice job of playing its role as the state benchmark. It should be about 6.5 percent of all statewide votes, and that is pretty much where it is in early voting (6.51 percent)

Yesterday: 41.7 Dem – 28.3 GOP – 30.0 NPA.

Total: 42.1 Dem – 35.3 GOP – 22.6 NPA

Dem +28,092

I-4

Almost as many people voted as Saturday, even though Volusia had no early voting, and the Dems won the day by over 13,000. But again, the big news is NPA, which made up 30 percent of all the voters along the highway, outpacing Republicans.

Again, it was metro-Orlando driving the NPA surge, with Seminole, Osceola, and Orange all over 30 percent NPA, with Osceola topping out at 33 percent. In fact, yesterday’s record day in both Osceola and Orange (I don’t have historic Seminole data), saw Dem + NPA = over 75 percent of the vote. The Obama effect again.

To date: 42.1 D — 35.4 R — 23.4 NPA

Yesterday: 41.6 D — 28.4 R — 30.0 NPA

In total 1.74 million votes were cast in the seven counties along this interstate. To put this in perspective, I-4 county early voting in 2016 was bigger than Iowa in 2012.

These counties are now exceeding my projection of the state’s share by 0.8 percent, coming in at 27.16 percent of the state through yesterday, compared to my projection of 26.38 percent. But, as I mentioned yesterday, this is not a disparity created equally along the interstate. In terms of ranking, Orange and Osceola are the fourth- and fifth-most “over-performing” counties in the state. On the flip side, the fifth-most under-performing is Polk, typically a lean-GOP county, and frankly, the kind of place I expected to see a “secret-Trump vote” surge. It might happen Tuesday, but I’m not convinced.

Also, my phone will blow up if I don’t mention Pinellas flipped to the Dem column yesterday. It is still exceptionally tight and my gut says Trump does better than Romney.

Just to recap the counties on I-4:

Volusia (Daytona) – should lean a little red this year (No EV on Sunday)

All votes: 39.7 R, 37.2 D, 23.1 NPA

R + 4,235

Seminole — suburban Orlando, more white/Republican. As a note, the SOE here, Mike Ertel, is a great guy, and today is hosting my Turkish delegation to walk through how votes are tabulated. Given how busy he is, I truly am grateful.

All votes: 41.3 R, 35.1D, 23.8 NPA

R +10,186

Orange (Orlando)

All votes: 46 D, 29.5 R, 24.5 NPA

D +65,553

Osceola — very Hispanic. President Obama was there.

All votes: 47.3 D, 26.3 R, 26.4 NPA

D +21,986

Imperial Polk — between Tampa/Orlando — lean R

All votes: 39.7 R, 39 D, 21.3 NPA

R +1,023

Hillsborough — twice for Bush, twice for Obama

Total: 42.1 Dem — 35.3 GOP — 22.6 NPA

Dem +28,092

Pinellas – lean D county on Gulf, west of Tampa

All votes: 38.6 R, 38.4 D, 23.0 NPA

D +358

Last look at I-4, by looking at the media markets, Republicans continue to hold a slight edge. To win Florida, Trump needs to grow slightly from Romney in both Tampa and Orlando.

I noticed something over the last few days that is interesting: early in the voting period, the Tampa market was way out-performing the state, and now it is under-performing. Why is that? Hillsborough is roughly where it should be, but Pasco, Polk, and Pinellas are well behind. Combined, those three counties are about a point below where they should perform as a share of the state. Will that be made up Tuesday? I don’t know, but I do think for Trump to do well, he needs solid margins and volume, particularly from Pasco and Polk.

Honestly, in these two markets, Clinton appears to be right on the path to meet her goals.

South Florida

It was like Miami had LeBron back yesterday, joined by Jordan in his prime.

Over 100,000 people voted in just Broward and Dade yesterday. In other words, 40 percent of yesterday came from the two biggest Democratic counties in Florida. Anyone care to write the “lack of enthusiasm” story today?

The numbers speak for themselves. 87.7 percent of the entire 2012 election turnout has already voted in Dade. That just doesn’t happen. And Broward is at a respectable 81 percent.

Dade is at 11.9 percent of all votes cast so far (should be 10.3 percent), and Broward is at 9.55 percent, where I had it pegged at 8.75 percent. The media market is a full two points bigger than it should be. If the Miami market finishes at 21.8 percent of all votes, this thing is cooked, and we will know it before 8 p.m. (assuming Miami decides to count all these ballots).

The red flag for Dems: Palm Beach. It is at 62 percent of its 2012 total, and it is also the county most “under-performing.” It should be about 7 percent of the state vote, but today it is about 5.9 percent. Of all the data points right now, this is the only one that concerns me. While Miami is more than making up for it, for HRC, win path is much easier with a more robust Palm Beach.

Palm Beach

All votes: 47.4 D, 28.5 R, 24.1 NPA

D +71,994

Broward

All votes: 55.5 D, 21.7 R, 22.8 NPA

D +206,981

Miami-Dade

All votes, 44.1 D, 29.3 R, 26.6 NPA

D +112,220

Duuuuuuval

The Obama effect:

D’s were down 3,000 when he got there.

They finish early voting up 4,248.

#ThanksObama

Will Dems win Duval? Hell, no. Will Trump win it by the Bush ’04 margins he needs to make up from the Dade County wave? Absolutely not.

Additional Thoughts

My basic view on this cycle, going back over a year, is that diversity would create the mechanism for Democrats to overcome other issues in the campaign, whether they be candidate or structurally based.

Many folks doubted 2016 would be more diverse. I had these same fights in 2012, as the Romney campaign tried to make the case that 2008 wasn’t replicable, not understanding that nothing had to be replicated, because the pie of Florida voters had changed. Almost any 2012 reporter can attest I was a broken record on this — demographics are changing, and people aren’t reading the state right.

Last week was deja vu, as early voting looked slow for the Dems, though signs of this Hispanic surge started to emerge, I had the same conversations with many of the same people.

One of the challenges Democrats have in Florida dealing with these process-driven stories about turnout is one of optics. Even when VBM is competitive between the parties, as it was this year, it is dominated by older white voters. This leads to the inevitable “X group won’t vote” story, typically backed up by a few quotes from people who are not involved in the actual campaign. We saw this it this year again.

But two things emerged last week. One, this low-propensity Hispanic thing became a thing. While Trump folks argued Trump would turn out low-propensity voters, we’d see slight edges for Democrats in this category. What became clear over days last week, this was a Hispanic deal, and as Week 2 of early voting took hold, so did this surge. As of Saturday, Democrats had an edge of more than 175K low-propensity voters.

Secondly, we began to see the edging upward of NPA voters. I had projected NPA at 21 percent of the electorate, but it will probably land closer to 23. And it is diverse, running an average of four points more diverse than the electorate as a whole.

So, you end up with this scenario — a close partisan break, but below that, you saw surging Hispanic, surging NPA, and growing proof the electorate would be more diverse than it was in 2012. Then we also learn that a large chunk of the GOP advantage was built with voters who were registered Dems in 2012 (though almost certainly not Dem voters), as well as the GOP having cannibalized more of its own Election Day vote, and I began to realize this was looking better each day.

On that diversity issue, just since last week, the percentage of the electorate that’s white has gone from 71 then over the last few days from 68.6 to 68.0, to 67.4, to 68.8. Since Thursday, there has been no day when the electorate has been more than 61 percent white. This is the Clinton recipe for winning.

So, when I get asked — all the freaking time — about the fact the R versus D number is lower for the Dems than 2012, I answer, “sure”.  And last week, I did worry about it, but this week, what has become clear is that structurally, we live in a state with more NPA, and more old conservative Dems who have switched parties, which drives down the total. But, we also live in a state that is getting more diverse, more quickly, and based on the 2012 experience, that is far more important in my eyes.

And the R versus D thing still isn’t really out of whack. My most frequent model has the state going 40D, 39R, 21NPA, which I figured would land at 66 white. We are going to land more like 39D, 38R, 23NPA, and with that NPA driven by Hispanics (20 percent of NPA voters), this looks like a Clinton coalition. In fact, most people, Republican and Democratic, I talked to in Florida were projecting D +1, so despite the talking points from the DNC, we are right on track.

I am going to write a wrap tomorrow for E-Day, but two questions I get a lot.

What am I worried about for HRC?

Really, almost nothing. I’ve mentioned the Palm Beach thing a few times, but right now, the diversity mix is rounding nicely into shape, and our best counties are way out-performing the state. Right now, she needs the organization on the ground to get this done Tuesday.

Could there be a Trump surge Tuesday? It is possible, because the counties most under-performing right now are Trump counties. His problem: most of them are very small, part of what Jonathan Martin called the Gingrich counties (where Newt beat Romney) — those rural places in between all the big counties.

All in all, the I-10 markets are way below where they should be, maybe as much as 3 percent below where its share should be. If that comes in tomorrow, it will tighten the race considerably.

Tomorrow’s memo will also lay out some things you watch for. If she wins by 3, we will know well, probably before the Panhandle returns come back after 8. If it is close, prepare for a long night.

One last thing — and this is just for the FL HRC organizers out there:

You all got this. This thing is right there. You’ve spent six months training for this moment. This is what you built for. Do your job today and tomorrow, stay focused on your goals, and you can say you made history.

Barack Obama says justice, fairness, environment, Civil Rights all on the ballot

Making one last plea for Florida to support Democrat Hillary Clinton and validate his own legacy, President Barack Obama told a big, boisterous crowd in Kissimmee Sunday that democracy itself is on Tuesday’s ballot.

Obama made it clear that all Democratic Party priorities and his own legacy are to be judged in the election.

“You have proof that your vote matters. And I’m not going to be on the ballot this time. But everything we’ve done is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Fairness is on the ballot. Looking out for working people is on the ballot. Higher wages is on the ballot. Protecting the environment is on the ballot. Treating people fairly is on the ballot. Civil Rights is on the ballot,” Obama said. “Our democracy is on the ballot!”

Obama’s second speech in the greater Orlando area in nine days followed a 18-minute warm-up show by R&B legend Stevie Wonder, who energized the crowd by debuting a song he said he wrote Saturday night for Hillary Clinton, plus several of his biggest hits, including “Superstition” and “Sunshine of My Life.”Stevie Wonder in Kissimmee

Obama’s motorcade did not arrive at Osceola Heritage Park Stadium until after Wonder left the stage, so he missed the show. But he met an excited crowd reported in the range of 11,000, filling most of the grandstands at the minor league baseball park, plus most of the infield.

While Obama spoke highly of Clinton and of Florida Democrat’s U.S. Senate nominee U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, he spent most of his 30-minute speech at least indirectly attacking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“On the one hand you have someone who may be the most qualified person to ever run for the presidency. On the other hand, you’ve got The Donald,” Obama said. “There is a reason that so many Republicans,, so many conservatives,, have denounced Donald Trump,, even if sometimes they said, ‘well we’re going to vote for him anyway.’ That is because Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president, temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.

“We cannot have a commander in chief who suggests it’s OK to torture people, or to ban entire religions from our country, or insults POWs, or attacks Gold Star moms, or talks down our troops,” Obama said.

Obama drew on a news report Sunday that Trump’s campaign had banned him from tweeting, for fear he might tweet something so outrageous in the last two days of the campaign that he could cost himself votes. So Obama ridiculed Trump for his apparent lack of self control.

“I just read, apparently his campaign has taken away his Twitter. In the last two days they had so little confidence in his self control, so they just said, ‘We’re going to take away your Twitter.’ Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle a nuclear code.”

Otherwise, Obama’s speech was very similar to the one he delivered at the University of Central Florida on Oct. 29, showing a new-found confidence buoyed by his strong rise in public opinion polls, expressing pride in his accomplishments, and assuring the crowd that Clinton, and only Clinton, would carry them forward.

Only now Obama expressed a greater sense of urgency, considering that Clinton’s solid-looking lead of late October has largely vanished in many polls, and Election Day is nearly here.

“Two days Florida. Two days to decide the future of this country,” Obama said. “And I need you to go vote. I need your help to help finish what we started eight years ago.

 

Women’s groups see Hillary Clinton having skirt-tails to help Stephanie Murphy, other women

Is it Hillary Clinton or the whole women’s and feminist movement at the top of the Democrats’ ticket on Tuesday?

A rally in Orlando Saturday – part of a statewide bus tour full of women’s movement and feminist leaders – offered the suggestion that there are such stark differences in attitudes, rhetoric, histories, and policy positions between Clinton and Donald Trump and the Republicans that this is very much a gender-critical election.

The gender gap in voting has never been clearer than polls show in the Clinton-Trump contest for president. But this bus group – including state and national heads of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization For Women and Feminist Majority, along with iconic women elected leaders – is counting on the increasingly defined “women’s bloc” creating skirt-tails to help down-ballot candidates like Orlando congressional candidates Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy.

And Demings and Murphy, Democrats running in Florida’s 10th and 7th Congressional Districts, along with House District 48 Democratic candidate Amy Mercado and House District 49 Democratic candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith, made it clear Saturday that women’s issues driving the gender gap in the presidential race are their issues too.

“We may ask the question, what’s at stake? Well, everything is at stake,” said Demings, who’s opponent in CD 10, Republican nominee Thuy Lowe, is also a woman. “My future, and your future is at stake. The future of our daughters, and our granddaughters and our nieces, and every woman and every person that we love is at stake. A woman’s ability to have equal pay for equal work is at stake. A woman’s right to choose is at stake. Hillary Clinton has had our backs for a long time. My question for you today is, will we have her back?”

Murphy’s campaign and campaigns run on her behalf by national Democratic groups have repeatedly attacked her opponent, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica for his votes on women’s issues, such as his no vote on the Violence Against Women Act, and tried to tie him to Trump.

“I am a proud, nasty woman,” Murphy said.

“My opponent and I could not differ more than we do on women’s issues,” she said. “I am somebody who is a working mom, and I believe in equal pay for equal work. This is the 21st century. We shouldn’t even be debating this. I am somebody who believes in family leave, because you shouldn’t have to decide between taking care of your family member or your job. We heard a lot about the Violence Against Women Act. The fact that he votes against that he voted against says more about him than anything else.”

The leaders of NOW, the Feminist Movement and Planned Parenthood, along with other speakers such as U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin, and former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, pressed broader women’s issues they saw at stake in the election.

They also spoke, afterward, of what they believe would be a permanent shift of huge numbers of women voters from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party following the election. They spoke of Trump and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence as representing everything that is chasing many women, particularly college-educated women in the suburbs, away from the GOP.

No one spoke of Bill Clinton, or the list of allegations against him.

“The gender gap we saw in the primaries was the largest gender gap I’ve ever seen. Huge… This gender gap we’re seeing now is bigger,” said Terry O’Neill, president of NOW. “She has a good chance, really, of doing another major thing, realigning the women’s vote that the Republicans have been depending upon in the suburbs, to the Democrats.”

“Donald Trump has already said that women must be punished for seeking abortions. Mike Pence, his running mate, has already imprisoned two women under Indiana’s so-called feticide law,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of Feminist Majority. “Mike Pence represents a tiny slice if ideological people in this country. He does not represent the vast majority of Republicans, and he certainly does not represent the vast majority of Republican women … the Republicans have gotten into bed with the most extreme anti-women, and racist and xenophobic ideologues in the country.”

Democrats take the lead in pre-Election Day votes

Florida Democrats have surpassed Republicans in pre-election totals, aided in large part by turnout during the early voting period.

Data compiled by the Florida Chamber of Commerce show nearly 2.1 million Democrats and nearly 2.1 million Republicans have already voted this election cycle. According to the Chamber data, Democrats now lead Republicans by a margin of about 2,600 votes.

Democrats still trail Republicans in the vote-by-mail race, returning 919,091 ballots. Registered Republicans have returned 988,579 ballots, giving them a vote-by-mail lead of more than 69,000 ballots.

While Republicans continue to dominate the vote-by-mail game, Democrats have been turning out in big numbers at early voting locations across the state.

The Florida Chamber data shows nearly 1.2 million registered Democrats have voted in-person during the early voting period. More than 1.1 million Republicans voted in-person during the early voting period.

Records show nearly 1.1 million independent voters have already vote. According to the Florida Chamber, 479,272 independent voters voted by mail, while 607,791 have voted during the early voting period.

Steve Schale: Notes on the 11th day of early voting in Florida

To: A tired, weary nation, and the Trump tech guys in Macedonia
From: Steve Schale, Florida Man
Re: Why in the world did I start doing these?

*1 day since the leader of the free world did the #swoop at UNF.
*4 days until the election.
*6 days until I am home for a nice long time.
*8 days until FSU basketball tips off.
*106 days until pitchers and catchers.
*131 days to get your NCAA basketball bracket complete — and your $20 in.

It is Friday.

The greatest Friday in like two years, because it is the final Friday of this quadrennial renewal of our federalist experiment in self-governing.

I can only imagine the letters that Adams and Jefferson are sending via pigeon carrier in heaven right now. Or maybe they have texting now —  guess we’ll find out one day.

Ballots. Barack Obama flew to Florida to tell you to return your ballot. Please listen to the man.

Speaking of President Obama, I had the honor to welcome him back to Jacksonville yesterday on what was a strangely emotional day. It is hard to believe it has been eight years. And while I have rather enjoyed having a life this cycle, it was good for the ol’ bloodstream to jump in for a day.

We’ve also reached the part of the campaign that is tough for the people who are in them, on both sides. Once you get to Friday, the die is mostly cast.

You’ve made your final moves, and other than ordering some robocalls or adjusting canvass operations, you just must trust your plan, and trust the kids on the ground to execute.

I went and banged on doors in ’08 for a few hours the last weekend, just to get out the nervous energy.

It is also the point where exhaustion has long since been replaced with a zombielike consciousness, fueled by an occasional morsel of pizza, or candy, or whatever else you can find, mixed with coffee, Coca-Cola, and whatever cheap beer is in the fridge.

In hack-lingo, this is the “October Diet,” and by this point in 2008, I was lucky if I was getting three or four hour’s sleep. And this is true, whether you are at the top of the org chart, or an organizer at the bottom.

In other words, you aren’t thinking well, and campaigns become defensive.

I say this to give some perspective to what is happening right now: tired kids in offices full of pizza boxes and beer bottles in trash cans that haven’t been emptied in weeks, pulling 16-18 hour days, often sleeping on couches or in spare rooms of “supporter housing.”

For most of them, this is the only campaign they will ever work on — most be doing something different soon, grad school, teaching, etc. Even if their team wins, most will never go to Washington. There is something romantically heroic about it.

That is how early voting and Election Day gets done: kids grinding out this thing, one voter at a time. I used to tell them I had the easy job, and I couldn’t do what they do.

With all the elevation publicly of hacks, the media (and pretty much everyone) often forgets in these things, but how they do their job will determine not only who wins this state, but potentially who is president. I used to tell my crew their job was simple: just do your job. And if you do, you will change the course of history.

So with that, here’s where we stand:

Yesterday, we blew past the 5 million mark, pushing over 5.25M votes.

I do want to note — especially because as you will see, the margin is razor-close — that there are discrepancies between the data the state reported and data you can get off county election’s offices. In some cases, those differences would benefit the D’s, in some the R’s. In other words, these numbers could change a little during the day.

Total Ballots cast: 5,267,750
Total Vote By Mail: 2,370,567 (45 percent)
Total Early Vote: 2,897,183 (55 percent)

Republicans: 2,093,586 (39.74 percent)
Democrats: 2,091,753 (39.71 percent)
NPA: 769,241 (20.55 percent)

Total Margin: GOP +0.03 percent

Dems won VBM and EV today, the first time the former has happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if this continues, largely because of math.

There are a lot more Dem ballots out there than GOP ballots, in part because the Dems pushed VBM later in October, and in part because I have no freaking idea why people haven’t mailed back their ballots.

Right now, I think about 57 percent of the likely electorate has voted. At this pace, if the next few days of early and VBM returns look like the last few days, we will be at 70 percent of the likely electorate done by E-Day.

One caveat, given the number of low-propensity voters who are showing up, I might revise my turnout estimate upward, in which case, that 70 percent number will become more like 67-68 percent, but still, at that rate, we are going to have a pretty good sense where Florida is headed darn early Tuesday.

And yes, there are still almost a million vote-by-mail ballots sitting out there; and yes, Democrats have more outstanding mail-in ballots than Republicans. Unreturned vote-by-mail ballots look like this: 41D-34R-25NPA, meaning 82,873 more Dem ballots are out there.

PRO TIP: AT THIS POINT, DON’T MAIL YOUR BALLOT BACK — TAKE IT TO AN EV SITE, THE SOE OFFICE OR YOUR POLLING LOCATION ON TUESDAY.

Hillsborough

Hillsborough had a bigger day yesterday than the day before, with 26,164 ballots in the door. Democrats won by about 6 percent, equal to their overall margin lead, or about 1,500 voters. NPA voters, though, continue to show up late in early voting, as yesterday 26.5 percent of all Hillsborough voters were NPA. Throughout all early voting, NPA = 21 percent, so this is an uptick.

Staying in the Bay area, I get a fair amount of questions from my Pinellas readers. For those unfamiliar with Pinellas, it is home to St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the peninsula of land that is on the west side of Tampa Bay (remember, Tampa is the city, Tampa Bay is the water). It was one of the first places where Republicans in Florida did very well, an homage to the area’s ties to the Midwest.

Since about 2004, party affiliation there has been very close, though Democrats tend to do better than the party affiliation at the top of the ticket since it tends to have a more moderate Republican voter. It is also unique in that the county votes overwhelmingly VBM, so we will know a lot of results very quickly.

Right now, Dems did win yesterday, and the GOP has about 1,500 voter lead in the county (Dems have about the same lead in voter registration).

Metro Orlando and the rest of I-4

Looking at the rest of I-4, the big news yesterday is the continued explosion of NPA voters.

Of the five remaining I-4 counties, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia, none had NPA’s share of the day equal less than 24.5 percent. As I wrote about yesterday, this is primarily driven by Puerto Ricans voting in substantial numbers.

One thing also noteworthy from yesterday, the two places with the highest Puerto Rican populations, Orange and Osceola counties, both outperformed their projected share of the statewide vote. In other words, more people turned out there than you’d expect based on their likely proportion to the rest of the state.

In fact, both are above their projected share for the entirety of early voting. Polk is a little below where it should land, and both Seminole and Volusia are pretty much on marks.

As I wrote on a blog earlier, the dynamic in this market is whether GOP turns out more voters in the surrounding counties than Dems can win in the urban counties. In both Lake and Flagler, Republicans are doing well, though I don’t think well enough to balance out what is happening in Orange and Osceola.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to win the Orlando media market. Romney did narrowly in 2012, but she does need to keep it close. Right now, it looks close.

South Florida

Miami and Broward blowing up. There is no other way to look at it.

Look at it this way: I expect Broward to be just under 9 percent of all statewide votes. Yesterday it was 10.3 percent. And Miami-Dade should land somewhere around 10.5 percent of all votes.

Yesterday it was 12.1 percent.

What is driving that? NPAs.

In Broward, 26 percent of voters yesterday were NPA, and 30 percent of Miami-Dade. Look at it another way: 74 percent of all voters in Dade yesterday were either Democratic or NPA, and 79 percent in Broward.

The story in Palm Beach isn’t the same, and if I were a Democratic hack working in a campaign, I would be raising a flag. The margins are solid, but the turnout is lagging. While Broward and Dade are both exceeding their projected shares, Palm Beach is well behind it.

The Broward partisan margin us up to 160,000, and Miami-Dade is now over 80K, but in frankly bigger news there, total NPA vote now trails GOP votes by about 30K.

Duuuuuuval

Well, the president flew into town, dropped a #DUUUVAL on the crowd, and did the Osprey “swoop” inside UNF Arena.

*Side note about my ex-boss — it is hard to imagine either of the 2016 front-runners pulling those two things off. I am pretty sure, Trump didn’t do either at his West Side (is the best side) rally.

*Side Note 2: Had I realized Trump’s rally was on the west side, I would have encouraged my press buddies to hit Intuition Brewing as a place where they could file their stories without Trump supporters yelling at them. Their IPA is much tastier than the water at the Equestrian Center.

OK, back to Duval. President comes to town and what happens? In-person early vote had a record day. #ThanksObama

Democrats continue to chip away at the margin here, which is under 2,500 voters, and now just 1.1 percent. There remain a huge number of African-American voters who have not voted, as African-American turnout here lags the state.

But, all in all, turnout here is lagging a bit, which means it isn’t crushing for Trump either.

Additional notes

The electorate continues to get more diverse. The electorate is now under 68.6 percent white (67 in 2012), with Black and Hispanic voters continuing to grow in share of the electorate.

And let’s talk about the Hispanic vote a little.

First, through Wednesday, 170,000 more Hispanics had voted early (or VBM) in 2016 than voted early or by VBM in the entire 2012 cycle. And keep in mind, because Hispanic is a self-identifying marker, studies have found the real Hispanic vote is larger than the registration.

So, while Hispanics might make up 14.2 percent of the voters who have voted so far, in reality, the number is larger.

And it isn’t just that Hispanics are voting, it is the types of Hispanics who are voting.

Here is one way to look at it: Right now, statewide, 16 percent of early voters are either first-time Florida voters, or haven’t voted in any of the last three elections. Across party lines, 24 percent of all the Hispanic votes today come from these first-time voters.

Among Hispanic Republicans, it is 14 percent, among Democrats, it goes up to 26 percent, and among Hispanic NPAs, a whopping 32 percent have no previous or recent voting history.

When you expand it out to voters who voted in one of the last three, which is what I define as “low propensity,” it goes up to 53 percent of Hispanic Democrats and 60 percent of Hispanic NPAs.

That, my friends, is the definition of a surge.

Right now, Democrats hold a 117K vote advantage among all low-propensity voters, in large part due to this Hispanic surge. So far, 32 percent of Democratic voters are low propensity voters, compared to 26 percent of the GOP voters. But among NPA, the number rises to 48 percent. That’s right, 48 percent of NPAs who have voted so far are low propensity — and 25 percent of those are Hispanic.

In fact, of the NPA low-propensity voters, a full 42 percent of them are nonwhite. That right there is the Clinton turnout machine edge.

One last thing on these NPA voters, right now, the overall electorate is 68.6 percent white, but among NPAs, that number drops to 65 percent. In other words, NPA voters are more diverse than the electorate as a whole. That almost certainly bodes well for Clinton.

Why do I mention all this?

Well, it is because so much attention is paid to the top-line EV numbers: R versus D. But the more I think about it, the more I think the fact D’s have trailed later into EV than normal, the more I wonder it has more to do structurally with HRC’s coalition than it does any partisan advantage.

As I told a reporter, I think the R vs. D number now is more of an optics problem than an electoral one.

One other thing about that GOP advantage. Between 2012 and 2016, a significant number of white Democrats switched parties. Many them came from places where the odds of them voting for any Democrat in recent history was very low, and certainly not one for president. For those not from here, you should remember that large parts of the state are still very “Southern” and as such, has retained some of that Southern Democrat identity, even though many of those voters have long stopped voting for Dems for president.

The Obama second term and the rise of Trump — plus the fact that Republicans are winning more local offices, gave them the nudge to shed the label and “re-categorize themselves” into the party where they belong.

So, I asked some data people a question: is there a chance that part of the GOP lead is built with people who four years ago, were Democrat early voters — even if they were Dems in name only. The answer is yes.

Almost 50,000 2016 Republican early voters were Democratic early voters in 2012. In other words, if none of those voters had switched, Dems would have an 80-90K vote lead over the GOP today — even though that lead would have been meaningless.

One last key stat from Wednesday: African-American and Caribbean Americans had their largest day of 2016, with 55,000 Black voters voting early. The Black share of the electorate now stands at a solid 12 percent and growing.

A couple of last observations. Right now, Republicans should be feeling good about turnout in Southwest Florida, as well as around the Villages, where the areas are turning out at a larger share of the electorate than projected. For Democrats, areas with high Hispanic are high, including the counties mentioned earlier in Southeast Florida and around Orlando. North Florida is getting better for Republicans, but still is lagging.

Which leads me to my final point. My buddy Peter Hamby, who works at Snapchat and who I think is one of the smarter people around, tweeted something last night which I think is both likely — and reminiscent of 2012:

There’s more likelihood polls are overlooking disconnected Millennials, African-Americans & Hispanics than ‘closet Trump’ supporters.

From my observation, particularly with the NPA growth and the number of low-propensity voters in Florida, I think this could be happening here, and is one of the reasons I am less concerned about the party delta than I was earlier in the week.

All of this has me leaning a bit that the state is shaping up nicely for HRC, but while I think that, in no way is it in the bag, or close to it. Donald Trump could still very well win Florida, and it remains exceptionally close.

The race will go to the side that does the best job over the next 96 hours. I used the term “crazy close” yesterday, and I think it still works today.

OK — little scheduling news:

Starting Saturday, I am hosting a group of Turkish party leaders through the American Council of Young Political Leaders, who will be in Florida observing the elections. It is a joint project with the State Department to introduce foreign leaders to American democracy.

Since the 2012 Presidential, I have gotten engaged in the political exchange community — it is easily some of the most meaningful work I do (if you are curious, I have written extensively about it on my blog).

I bring this up because my plan is to write a memo Saturday for Friday, publish some notes Sunday from Saturday, and write a longer read Monday that goes into more depth about where we stand.

Tuesday morning, I hope to do a short piece that is simply what to look for on election night. I also will do an election wrap-up, though it might be a few days after. We’ll just see if I am still standing on 11/9.

However, because of my responsibilities with ACYPL and this delegation, I probably won’t have time to banter for hours on Twitter, though I will continue to try to respond best I can.

Steve Schale: Notes on the 10th day of early voting in Florida

To: Curious Americans and President Vladimir Putin
From: Steve Schale, Proud FloridaMan
Re: 5 Days out — and eight years later, POTUS returns to Duval

*5 days until the election.
*7 days until the first Thursday after the election.
*9 days until FSU basketball tips off.
*23 days until the Tallahassee Turkey Trot 15K.
*113 days until Daytona 500.

Welcome to the last Thursday, and before I begin, a note to Democrats:

REALLY? What are you waiting for? Return those ballots!

So, beginning today with a point of personal privilege. After hitting send on this memo, I am headed to Jacksonville for President Obama’s rally. Eight years ago today, then-Sen. Barack Obama was in Jacksonville, for his last rally in Florida, and his first of the final day. It was also the day he lost his grandmother.

After the rally, I sat down with the soon-to-be president to explain where we were in the early vote.

As I tried to explain it in my overly data-centric way (we are ahead by more than John Kerry lost by, etc.), he finally asked me what I meant, to which I said, “it means we’ve won.”

He left Jacksonville with a little smile, and I went back to Tampa completely freaking out that I just essentially guaranteed him that we had won, thinking ‘holy crap, if somehow we lose this thing, he’ll always remember me as that jerk in Florida who said we had won.”

So, thank God we won.

It is hard to believe it’s been eight years. For a guy who grew up in a small town in rural Illinois and a small town in North Florida, it has been both the ride, and the professional blessing of a lifetime.

Basically, I spend most days wondering how I’ve gotten to do these things.

But why Jacksonville? Forgive me for making this point daily, but Florida is all about managing margins. For Dems to win, we must run up very big margins in a handful of places, then hang on. For GOP to win, they run up strong margins in more counties. Thus, both sides want to take away one of the other’s strengths.

The GOP, for example, in the last few presidentials, has worked to erode Democratic support in Palm Beach. For Dems, the most obvious place to do the same is Duval, because of the county’s large African-American population.

Part of what makes such a great place to work is it is ever changing. You can never say you “know Florida,” because just when you think you figure it out, something changes. And in 2016, we are seeing two pretty big changes: the real rise of NPA voters, and the rise of Hispanics — and the two are intertwined. But more on that later.

Yesterday was a big day for early voting. Several counties, including Orange (Orlando), Palm Beach, and Alachua (where UF is) had their biggest days. Many others were close to their best day. And as a former Draft Biden guy, I want to point out the two places the VP visited today saw big increases in early voting over yesterday.

Basically, Wednesday was a day Florida got its vote on.

And while there has seemed to be a collective surprise that Florida has gotten close, a note that the three polls today were C+1, C+2, C+3. There were 31 million votes over the last four presidentials, and 70K separate the two parties.

Yes, it is gonna be close. How close? Well, I’ll tell you a little secret: one of the models I ran in early October had the race come back to a tie. Not a tie like “48-48,” an actual, vote-specific tie.

So with that, here is where we stand:

Yesterday, we pushed close to the five million vote mark, a total which will happen today.

Republicans won vote-by-mail by a 1K vote plurality, and Dems won VBM by 7K. In total, 400,489 people voted yesterday. One other note, NPA participation is increasing, a trend which started over the weekend. Statewide NPA participation to date is 20 percent, but yesterday, statewide NPA participation was 24.

Total Ballots cast: 4,687,113
Total Vote-By-Mail: 2,273,978 (46.7 percent)
Total Early Vote: 2,593,135 (53.3 percent)
Republicans: 1,948,126 (40.0 percent)
Democrats: 1,936,240 (39.8 percent)
NPA: 769,241 (20.2 percent)

Total Margin: GOP +0.22 percent.

Right now, I think about 52 percent of the likely electorate has voted.

And there are still 1,085,676 vote-by-mail ballots sitting out there, and yes, Democrats have more outstanding mail-in ballots than Republicans. Unreturned vote-by-mail ballots look like this: 41D-34R-25NPA, meaning 84,088 Democrats apparently think getting daily calls from organizers is more fun than voting.

PRO TIP: IF YOU VOTE, THE EVER-INCREASINGLY ANXIOUS CALLS STOP. SAY #NEVERROBO BY RETURNING YOUR BALLOT TODAY.

Hillsborough

It was a very good day for Democrats in Hillsborough. Almost 25K ballots were processed today, and Dems won the day by 1,400 votes, carrying both the VBM returns and the in-person vote. Also, NPA made up 25.5 percent of all votes today, as Dems maintain their six-point edge over the GOP (+18,600).

There is a Hispanic surge happening here. So far, 26 percent of Hispanic voters have no voting history, compared to 13 percent for both whites and blacks. What is interesting about Hillsborough is, while it is known for its Cuban roots, it is home to the largest populations of Mexicans in the state, a demographic that has begun to change the county’s politics. Right now, the county is about 66 percent white, 14 percent black, and 13 percent Hispanic, but it will be interesting to watch it change in the coming days. Given the rise of NPA, I suspect it will get more Hispanic.

Metro Orlando

Rather than looking at I-4, I wanted to take a deeper look at the metro Orlando area.

It is easy to think about what is happening politically in Central Florida as an Orlando phenomenon, but the demographic shifts that have occurred in the region spread out over the three-county metro Orlando area (Seminole, Orange, and Osceola). The difference from the Bush wins to the Obama wins has been stunning: In the two Bush wins, Bush carried the three-county area by an average of 22,000 votes. In the two Obama wins, the president carried them by a margin of roughly 100,000 votes — a nearly 122,000-vote margin improvement for the Democrats.

No place is starker than Osceola County, a place Bush won by five in 2004, but Obama won by 24 just eight years later. That, my friends, is what Puerto Rican growth is doing to politics.

It is obvious, but still important to stress, that the reason Puerto Ricans are changing the politics so fast is, unlike all other Hispanic migrants to Florida, they can vote on Day One as U.S. citizens, so their growth has an acute impact on politics. Orange County, for example, once one of the whitest, and most-Republican places, is now majority-minority in registered voters, and overwhelmingly Democratic. The changes aren’t as significant in Seminole, but they are still happening.

Regarding total early voting there, you can see how the NPA’s compared yesterday to previous voting. What you see, in part, is Puerto Rican surge.

Seminole: 43R-35D-22NPA — Total: +8,907R (Yesterday: 41R-33D-26NPA)
Orange: 47D-30R-23NPA — Total +46,974D (Yesterday: 46D-28R-28NPA)
Osceola: 48D-28R-24NPA — Total +15,430D (Yesterday: 46D-24R-30NPA)

So to that point, let’s dig a bit deeper. In Orange County, 29 percent of Hispanics who have voted were first-time voters. In Osceola, it is 31 percent. In Orange County, 55 percent Hispanics have voted in no more than one of the last three elections, a number that rises to 59 percent in Osceola. And many are registering NPA, not Democratic, which is why it is significant that yesterday, on the biggest day in early voting in Orange County, 72 percent of voters were Dem and NPA.

South Florida

Yesterday, 114K people voted in South Florida, of which 27 percent were NPA. In total, Democrats won the day by almost 29K votes, with the margins 48D-25R-27NPA, and total votes in the Palm Beach and Miami media markets accounted for 30 percent of statewide votes. Miami continues to over-perform, and Palm Beach is a little low. If Palm Beach can catch up to its historical levels, South Florida is going to turn in some very high margins for Hillary Clinton.

You can see the NPA surge below.

Palm Beach: 48D-29R-23NPA — Total +53,135 D (Yesterday: 45D-29R-26NPA)
Broward: 57D-23R-20NPA — Total: +146,704 D (Yesterday: 54D-21R-25NPA)
Dade: 44D-31R-25NPA — Total +73,185 (Yesterday: 43D-27R-30NPA)

Duuuuuuval

The president is going to arrive in a Duval that looks a lot more like it did in his two elections than the previous two.

As a reminder, Bush in 2004 won Duval by 17 points, or about 61,000 votes. In Obama’s two wins, the margin averaged around 10,000 votes. In 2008, we lost by only 8,000, and honestly, I am still annoyed we didn’t get closer. That and losing Sarasota by 227 votes are the two places that still burn me. In my opinion, anything under a 20K-vote loss in Duval is a win.

More than 20,000 people voted yesterday, mostly through in-person early voting, which the Democrats won, leading to the Dems winning the day by about 100 votes. Not a ton, but succeeding in keeping the margin in check. The GOP margin now stands at 1.3 (43.2R-41.9D). This is a place where African-American turnout is a little low, about 25 percent to date (compared to about 30 percent statewide). But this is also a place where African-American turnout rises in the final weekend and into Election Day, so the president is right on time.

Additional notes

The electorate continues to get more diverse. Through the Sunday vote, Hispanics are now 14 percent of the votes so far, with Black voters (African-American and Caribbean) at 11.8. White is down to 69. Keep in mind, it was 67 in 2012, and it has come down from 71 in just a few days.

I use Black voters, and not African-American for a very specific reason: a rather sizable piece of the Florida Black population isn’t actually African-American but instead is Caribbean-American.

I wanted to look at turnout another way, though. As of the voter-specific data I have available (ending Tuesday — this runs a day behind), about 34 percent of the state has voted. But when you look at it from an ethnic perspective, it looks like this: about 36 percent whites, 30 percent Hispanics and 30 percent Black voters.

Now, when you keep in mind that the vote-by-mail electorate is quite white, one would expect the white turnout to be way out front, then come back to the rest of the state. This is basically what is happening.

So, let’s revisit briefly this black turnout piece from yesterday. If you think about the state as a pie, each ethnicity takes up a piece. Between 2012 and 2016, the white piece got smaller; the black piece stayed about the same, and the Hispanic and other pieces all grew. Also, when you think back to 2012, Black voters exceeded their voter registration share.

That is not normal, thus when people talk about black turnout being down, it is important to remember there are two reasons: 1. Barack Obama was a historic figure and isn’t on the ballot, and 2. Hispanics own more of the pie.

As I described to someone today, comparing 2016 Clinton black turnout to 2008 or 2012 is like comparing the ’91 Bulls to the ’96 Bulls. The ’91 Bulls won 61 games and the championship. The ’96 Bulls won 72 with arguably the greatest pure team of all time. We all like to talk about the ’96 Bulls, but the ’91 team was damn good and has a ring.

Clinton doesn’t need 08/12 turnout, she needs the Black share of the electorate to approach its share of registered voters. And when you look at Black turnout today as it relates to whites, as well as how the share has grown since the start of in-person early voting (Blacks have been 15 percent of in-person early voting), it is trending well toward that goal.

One last piece, because I don’t think it has gotten the attention it deserves: the early Republican leads have been built — not completely, but in part — by cannibalizing their own Election Day vote. The conventional wisdom is the GOP wins Election Day, but honestly, specifically in 2008 and to a lesser extent in 2012, they won Election Day because we were basically done, and thus won Election Day, not because they were better at it, but because they had a larger pool of highly likely voters left to vote.

In 2016, they have gotten a larger share — and number of their traditional Election Day voters to vote early, which has left an interesting scenario: Democrats have more “2012 voters” left to vote than do Republicans.

Quickly looking at how the state is playing out: It looks like Fort Myers, which has gotten a lot of ink for high turnout, is coming back to Earth, an indication that it might have just voted quickly, instead of expanding. The Fort Myers media market yesterday made up just 3 percent of all the votes (it is about 6.7 percent of statewide votes historically). The market is still over-performing, at about 8 percent of statewide totals, but that is down from about 10.5 percent last Friday.

On flip-side, for Republicans, North Florida did come out yesterday, making up about 25 percent of statewide votes, raising its statewide share to 17 percent, which is closer to being in line with where it typically falls. Granted some of that is strong Dem days in Leon and Alachua, but overall, more North Florida voting is good for Donald Trump.

Dems can take heart that Miami and Orlando continue to be strong, with 22 percent of statewide votes yesterday coming from the Miami DMA, and 20 percent from Orlando, keeping both markets above their historical shares. In the back of my mind, a 500K-vote margin out of Broward and Dade is probably the upper end of HRC numbers — and, possibly the number that makes it tough for Trump to win. If Miami can continue to stay about 20 percent of the state, getting close to that 500K margin looks attainable.

With that, I am off to Jacksonville. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Barack Obama making one more swing through Central Florida

And, he’s back.

President Barack Obama will make his second Central Florida appearance in the closing days of the election campaign with a rally in Kissimmee for Hillary Clinton Sunday afternoon.

Interstate 4 is seeing more power players than Pennsylvania Avenue lately.

Obama was last in the Orlando area last Friday. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in the area Saturday, and again on Tuesday. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was in the area early last week and again on Wednesday. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence was around on Monday. Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will be in the area Friday. It’s about time. It’s been a month since Central Floridians last saw him. It’s also been a month since Vice President Joe Biden has hit the Orlando area, but there’s still time.

Obama’s appearance is being billed as a get-out-the-vote rally.

He will appear at Osceola County Stadium — future home of the Florida Fire Frogs minor league baseball team — for a 1:30 p.m. rally. The doors will open at noon. People interested in going need to request reservations through the Hillary For America website.

 

 

Democratic-leaning For Our Future sees bright spot with get-out-the-vote effort in Florida

Republicans may have a slight advantage in voter turnout so far through mail-voting and early voting, but a coalition of get-out-the-vote groups led by For Our Future said a deep-dive look at the numbers has them encouraged.

In particular, progressive campaigners are hyping their greater success in getting sporadic voters — those who probably can’t be counted on to vote — to vote. The issue is whether the across-the-board increases in early voting in Florida means new and additional voters, or simply voters who would vote regardless, and they’ve voted early this year.

The coalition also pointed to an increase in Hispanic voters voting early, suggesting this likely Democratic bloc will have an impact favoring Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

And they discounted reports that relatively small numbers of African-American voters are voting — the most loyal Democratic bloc. Jerry Green, Florida outreach director for Vote Vets, insisted black voters still largely wait until Election Day to vote, so their absence from early voting ranks doesn’t concern Democrats.

“Right now there’s just over a 15,000-vote difference. But when you look at sporadic voters, 30 percent of our voters are sporadic voters, versus 24.8 percent for the GOP. When you look at three-of-three, the people who have voted in the last three presidential elections, 56 percent of GOP voters are voters that are going to show up, compared with 47 percent of Democratic voters who are true and tried. Those voters are going to turn out and vote,” said Ashley Walker, senior statewide campaign advisor at For Our Future. “So I feel good that we are turning out more sporadic voters than they are.”

She said Democratic canvassers already have knocked on two million doors in Florida.

Angel Darcourt, Florida field director for the AFL-CIO’s Working America, said particular emphasis was on canvassing in the Orlando area.

“We’re holding tens of thousands face-to-face conversations around Orlando to reach the working-class voters in the I-4 corridor we know will decide this election,” Darcourt said.

GOP officials will be discussing their take on the early voting numbers later Tuesday.

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