Pasco County results portend good things for Romney in Florida (& beyond) tonight?

Pasco used to be a bellwether, never more so than in the disputed 2000 election, when Al Gore won the county by less than a thousand votes over George W. Bush.

But 2004 it wasn't as close, and as we mentioned in '08, when Barack Obama was winning true bellwether counties like Hillsborough and even Pinellas, he lost Pasco by three points, even though he won Florida by the same margin.

But an eight-point swing? Well, this shows that Romney is looking pretty good in Florida. Let's face it, except for a few polls in the last couple of days, the trend has been Romney by maybe five points (The Tampa Bay Times/ Bay News 9 survey had him up by six points over the weekend).

And let's clarify that this is just people voting under party identification - not listing how they are actually voting.

But could this portend what the situation is in other key bellwethers around the country? We won't know until the polls close in places like Virginia, Iowa and Wisconsin. And we're only learning this now because of the ability of Corley to post numbers from today up on the site immediately. But it's something to watch out for.

Let's get one thing straight: Pasco County, Ari Fleischer, is no longer a bellwether county like it was back when your guy was trying to get elected.

The former George W. Bush flack turned CNN commentator repeated the news this afternoon that has had conservatives buzzing nationally - that Pasco, that went for John McCain by three percentage points in 2008, has eight percent more Republicans than Democrats voting this time around, at least up until 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.

No, that's not just early voting/vote by absentee calculations - Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley is actually posting in something like real time - as real as it gets, I suppose - the total number of votes cast today, Election Day, in Pasco.

As of 4 p.m., 81,950 ballots had been cast in total by Republican voters - that includes early voting, absentee, and votes at the polls. Democrats were at 41,650. Broken down percentage wise, that's 43 percent for Republicans, 35 percent for Democrats.

So what does this mean?

Well, it means that Democrats are not doing the job in keeping the margins close, as they had hoped to do.

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