Politics

Early Voting Returns Point to GOP Enthusiasm Advantage

GOP winning early vote count in Florida, Democrats lag 2012 pace in Iowa and Ohio

With almost 1 million votes already cast by mail in Florida by Friday morning, the Republicans are showing a 17,000-person advantage in returns.

That surprising revelation counters much of the negative talk regarding Republican chances this fall — negativity Democrats and the predominantly liberal media are eager to spread.

“Republicans are seeing high interest so far from newly registered voters and low propensity Republican voters.”

The state has another 2.1 million ballots out that have not been cast. And early in-person voting starts Monday in some Florida counties.

It’s a surprising turn of fortune for Republicans in Florida, where Hillary Clinton has retaken a lead in polling over Donald Trump.

The early Florida returns could indicate potent enthusiasm for Trump among his base of supporters.

[lz_table title=”CBS News/YouGov Florida Poll Oct. 21″ source=”RealClearPolitics”]
Donald Trump (R), 43%
Hillary Clinton (D), 46%
[/lz_table]

As of Friday, more than 3 million Americans have voted early or by mail-in ballot. And even in states where Democrats are doing better than Republicans in mail-in ballots, depressed Democratic numbers — as compared to this point in 2012 — tell a story.

“That more registered Democrats have requested ballots and returned them does not signal Democratic victory,” wrote Michael P. McDonald, an associate professor at the University of Florida and curator of the U.S. Election Project for The Huffington Post. “Iowa Democrats typically do much better than they are currently doing.”

McDonald wrote that as of Oct. 16, requested ballots for Democrats were down 42,397 from a similar point in 2012. President Obama won Iowa in 2012.

The Republicans are also closing in on surpassing their past performances in Iowa early returns. McDonald said the GOP was down 14,099 from their point in 2012 on Oct. 7, but down only 2,221 by Oct. 14.

Ohio is another state in which Democrats typically do better than Republicans in absentee voting. But local Republican officials say their Senate race is also helping the presidential race put GOP voters into the ballot booths.

More than 1.28 million ballots have been requested so far in Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 12.

“Based on what we are seeing, Democrats appear to be cannibalizing their base to vote early,” said Brittany Warner, Ohio Republican Party communications director. “Republicans are seeing high interest so far from newly registered voters and low-propensity Republican voters. Democrats appear to have stronger numbers for in-person [early] voting — but that’s always the case, as our base is typically [made up of] Election Day voters.”

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Warner said President Obama beat his 2012 opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, in Ohio’s early and mail-in votes. But Romney won the most in-person votes on Election Day. In the end, Romney couldn’t overcome Obama’s margin in early voting.

This time, the Ohio GOP is working to cover both ends.

“The party has been sending targeted mail and phone calls to encourage modeled supporters to vote early, and we have had a grassroots strategy in place to connect with early voters,” said Warner. “Registered Republicans are currently outpacing registered Democrats with absentee vote requests.”

CNN confirmed the Ohio trend on Friday.

“Democrats have a slight lead in the early balloting, but their lead is smaller than in 2012, and overall Democratic turnout dropped at a higher rate than it did for Republicans,” CNN wrote.

CNN noted that the Republican-led Ohio legislature reduced the number of early voting days from 35 to 28.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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