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In Florida, Democrats Gain Vote Lead Before Election Day

Early voting numbers show that the Democratic machine has upped Latino turnout in Florida, but Donald Trump is well positioned to win Florida if he can maximize turnout on election day, say election experts. 

Polls of the state’s remaining voters show a majority of Floridians plan to vote for Trump on election day, according to a CBS poll. CBS’s poll shows he has a 16-point advantage of 51 percent to 35 percent among the election-day voters.

CBS’ YouGov poll shows that Trump’s support rose by roughly 3 points since late October, leaving the two candidates level at 45 percent. 

Trump’s election day advantage may be enough to overcome the Democrats’ lead among early voters, which was described by the Los Angeles Times as a “slender lead.”

“The margin is hardly one to sit on, a little more than 7,000 votes out of 5.7 million cast so far. [and] more than a million voters are not registered to either of the major parties,” the L.A. Times said Nov. 5. 

By Sunday evening, Florida’s elections officers reported that 1.4 million Republicans cast ballots “Early In Person,” as did 1.45 million Democrats and 710,717 “No Party Affiliation” voters. That adds up to 3.5 million votes.

Another 3.36 million votes are being cast by mail, leaving up to 7 million voters yet to cast their votes.

There’s no firm data on the number of Republicans who voted for Clinton or the number of Democrats who voted for Trump.

The independent NPA voters are critical. Of the NPA voters who have cast their ballot early, roughly 66 percent are white, while 20 percent are Hispanic, according to Steve Schale, a Florida Democrat who directed President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in Florida. He is now a local political strategist.

Schale claims the Democrats have managed to turn out more “low-propensity” voters who might otherwise have skipped the election, and that one-third of the Latino voters have not voted before.

GOP leaders hoping that Clinton fails to mobilize the African-American vote in many states, including Florida, despite strenuous efforts by President Barack Obama. “That’s turning out to be the story of this election, the African-American vote,” Trump told a weekend rally held in Tampa. Fla.

But some reports say the black vote has grown in Florida. “Black turnout is sky-rocking in Florida,” said Daniel Smith, a voting expert and a professor at Florida University. “564k blacks have voted [early in-person]. In ’12, total 539k voted EIP,” he wrote Sunday.

In 2012, bAfrican-Americans were 14 percent of Florida’s total turnout. Latinos comprised 12.5 percent, Asians reached 1.5 percent and whites reached 68.4 percent.

In 2012, 1.1 million Hispanic voted. Turnout in 2016 is higher, with 911,000 voting by Saturday. “Likely when the data come out [Monday], more Hispanics will have voted early in FL than all Hispanics voted in 2012,” said Michael McDonald, an associate professor at the University of Florida.

Recent polls showed Clinton doing better than Obama in the southern part of the state, while Trump is doing better than the GOP’s 2012 candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, in the northern part of the state.

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