Florida Elections Series Oct. 16th

Can you believe we’re only two and a half weeks away from Election Day? It’s all going to happen very quickly from here on out. Early voting starts on Monday in Florida and already we’re pacing record votes by mail. These are a few notable takeaways on Florida’s election landscape this week. Let's start with 2.1 million votes by mail that have been cast thus far according to the Florida Division of Elections. Democrats have outvoted Republicans by 420,000 votes thus far. Also, Republicans have narrowed the Democrats lead in voter registration from 2.5% in 2016 to 0.9% today and the top issues according to Floridians are the economy, COVID-19, healthcare, and race, in that order. Lastly, Republicans are faring 2-points better in polls using likely voter samples compared to registered voter samples

Democrats have clearly executed a successful vote by mail campaign. In addition to having cast greater than 400,000 more votes than Republicans thus far, there has been a sense of urgency with returning their ballots as well. 68% of all ballots requested by Democrats have already been returned, which compares to 54% of all ballots requested by Republicans. Republicans outpaced Democrats in votes by mail in 2016. The real tell will come next week with the onset of early voting. If Republicans outpace Democrats in early voting, we’ll know the script will have been flipped as Democrats led Republicans in early voting four years ago. If Democrats lead both, it'd be a sign of bigger concerns for Republicans in Florida.

Around the state this week, new polling from Florida’s 18th showed Pam Keith with a lead over Brian Mast for the first time this cycle. The average of the available polling shows Mast with a 3-point overall lead, though it appears this race could be tightening. Other Congressional polling leaders in highly competitive South Florida races include Lois Frankel in Florida’s 21st, Carlos Gimenez in Florida’s 26th, and Maria Elvira Salazar in the 27th. The 26th and 27th would be pickups for Republicans. Joe Biden has averaged a 1% lead in Florida’s averaged polls this week. That compares to a 3.8% average lead Hillary Clinton had on the same date four years ago in the same polls. In other words, President Trump is pacing 2.8% better in Florida today than four years ago when he won the state by 1.2%.

Trends now matter more because of Floridians officially voting by the millions already.

Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images