Florida’s early voting numbers show that Donald Trump is on track to win the state if he can gather support from half of the state’s “No Party Affiliated” voters by November 8.
The calculation assumes that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each keep 87 percent of their partisan supporters in Florida, gain 4 percent or 5 percent from the other party, and lose 8 percent or 9 percent to third-party candidates. Those numbers match the data provided in a recent TIPP poll for Investors Business Daily.
Based on TIPP’s data, and the 4 million early votes cast by Monday, Trump will get 45.4 percent of the state’s vote — and the November win — if the NPA vote splits 48 percent for Trump, 33 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 19 percent for third parties, including Jill Stein of the Green Party.
That scenario would leave Clinton with 42.1 percent of the statewide vote, and third-party candidates would get 12.5 percent of the statewide votes.
If polling data from The Washington Post is used to allocate the Republican, Democratic, and NPA early voters to the various candidates, then current early voting trends show Trump beating Clinton by 5 points, 47.68 percent to 42.68 percent.
By Monday, 4,077,521 Floridians had voted. They included 1.648 million registered Republicans, 1.623 million registered Democrats, and 697,783 NPA voters.
So far, the Republicans are staying just ahead of the Democrats in the early voting, while the NPA voters comprise a decisive, election-swinging 16.95 percent of the early vote. That’s one in six voters.
Also, black American turnout in the state has dropped sharply, creating more bad news for the Clinton team. In 2012, after just two days of early in-person voting, black Americans contributed 25 percent of the vote. In 2016, despite five days of early voting, black Americans comprised only 16 percent of voters by Monday.
But experts warn that Florida’s early voting numbers in 2016 are distinctly different from the 2012 early voting numbers.
The state’s population has changed with the addition of many voters from Puerto Rico, while many more voters are voting earlier than in prior years because of pressure from state election officials and from the two political parties. Those early GOP voters won’t be able to vote again on November 8 to counter any last-minute surge among Democratic voters.
The parties want their supporters to vote early, partly so they can concentrate their resources late in the race on turning out their most cautious or hesitant supporters.
So whatever the early voting numbers and current polling show today, the final result won’t be known until November 8 — or whenever all of the uncertain votes and “hanging chads” are determined during a recount after a very close race.