Heading into the March 17 presidential primaries, registration trends show more new Florida voters might be inspired to vote for President Donald Trump than to vote for any of his Democratic challengers.
Since the November 2018 general election, Republicans have added approximately 141,000 new voters in Florida, while Democrats increased their party by 130,000. That difference is more than in the 2018 U.S. Senate election in which Rick Scott beat Bill Nelson by 10,033 votes.
The latest voter registration numbers are unofficial totals compiled by Florida Politics from the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections, mostly through Tuesday, which was the last day anyone could register to vote in the March 17 primary.
The official close-of-book voter registration numbers for the primary will not be released until the end of month, through the Florida Division of Elections.
The numbers collected from Supervisors are incomplete for several reasons: Some online registrations are handled directly by the Florida Division of Elections and they might not all be reported back to the Supervisors’ offices yet, at least not through Tuesday. Many late-delivered registrations that arrived Tuesday may not yet be counted in some counties. Mailed registrations can be accepted for another few days. Finally, Miami-Dade County, the state’s most populous, does not have its most recent tallies available. Miami-Dade’s registration numbers were available Wednesday for only through Feb. 12.
On March 17, Trump will be facing former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld for the Republican nomination this year, an election with absolutely no suspense.
Democratic voters, on the other hand, get a choice among eight candidates who’ve offered more surprises than met expectations in recent weeks, and who might continue to do so all the way into the Florida primary. They are former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California businessman Tom Steyer, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The statewide tallies find Florida now has at least 13,698,000 registered voters, up about 420,000 since the general election in 2018. While Republicans made gains, Democrats still hold the slight registration advantage statewide. There now are more than 5 million registered Democrats, roughly 5,076,000 in the latest count. There are 4,821,000 registered Republicans. That gives Democrats a 37% to 35% advantage.
Sill, the greatest increase in voter registration again was seen among independent voters. The combined total of official no-party affiliated voters and those in other parties (some counties do not break them out) increased by about 149,000 since the 2018 general election. There now are 3,800,000, about 28% of the total electorate.
Those voters cannot vote on March 17, except in a handful of municipal elections, because Florida’s primaries are closed.
Republicans managed to sign up more voters than did Democrats in 46 counties. Most of those were rural counties with just a few thousand total voters, but they also included many mid-size counties, plus Miami-Dade, at least through Feb 12.
Democrats gained against Republicans in only 17 counties, which included most of the populous, urban counties, and a few suburban counties.
Among specific counties that had the greatest gains in one party or another since the November 2018 election:
— Orange added 22,064 Democrats and 5,472 Republicans.
— Palm Beach added 15,672 Democrats and 10,145 Republicans.
— Duval added 11,432 Democrats and 2,255 Republicans.
— Volusia added 11,385 Republicans and 9,634 Democrats.
— Polk added 10,570 Republicans and 7,133 Democrats.
— Hillsborough added 9,689 Democrats and 3,886 Republicans.
— Pinellas added 9,232 Democrats and 4,854 Republicans.
— Lee added 7,877 Republicans and 7,672 Democrats.
— Pasco added 7,768 Republicans and 2,693 Democrats.
— Miami-Dade, through Feb. 12, added 5,390 Republicans and 4,151 Democrats.
— Brevard added 5,158 Republicans and 4,146 Democrats.
— Charlotte added 4,908 Republicans and 2,376 Democrats.
— Broward added 4,893 Democrats and saw Republican rolls decline by 182.
— St. Johns added 4,486 Republicans and 3,923 Democrats.
— Marion added 4,487 Republicans and 1,777 Democrats.
— Sumter added 4,385 Republicans and 1,708 Democrats.
— Seminole added 4,182 Democrats and 1,387 Republicans.