According to Steve Schale, an advisor to the Charlie Crist campaign, Democrats are trailing Republicans in the absentee and early voting numbers by 141,000 votes — whereas in 2010 when Rick Scott beat Alex Sink by just 1.2 percent, they were down 275,000 in early voting totals.
Schale spoke on a conference call organized by the Crist campaign on Tuesday, just a week before Florida finally decides whether Crist or Scott will lead the Sunshine State over the next four years.
He got granular with the numbers, saying that amongst "sporadic voters" (which in this case simply means Floridians who voted in 2012 but not 2010), 29 percent of those voters are registered as Democratic, so far, vs. 20 percent of Republicans. And not surprisingly, the number of independent voters is up so far in 2014, constituting 17 percent of the electorate as of the end of the day on Monday.
Even during the early stages of this campaign, Democratic Party strategists have vowed that there would be a much more robust effort in terms of engaging their base than in 2010, when a Tea Party-fueled surge led to Republicans dominating election results on every level (except in California). It was ugly for Democrats in 2010, and even though they have a flawed candidate in former Republican Charlie Crist, they've always emphasized that they would get bigger turnouts than Alex Sink did with key parts of their electorate, such as black voters.
Democrats like Lieutenant Governor nominee Annette Taddeo and Schale have mocked Republicans in recent days for comparing the early vote/absentee totals to 2012, when Barack Obama narrowly won the state in the presidential election, vs. 2010, when Scott won an equally close victory over Sink.
"The reality is it's a completely different electorate," Schale told reporters today about a midterm gubernatorial election in Florida and a presidential contest. He said there will be at least 2-3 million fewer voters going to the polls in 2014 than in 2012, with different demographics (i.e. whiter) and slightly less partisanship in voter loyalty.
Moments before today's conference call took place, the Scott re-elect team taunted Team Crist by emailing reporters a mock question to pose to Schale, based on TV buys for time for campaign ads that have been smaller for Crist than what the Scott team is spending (propelled by Scott's own checkbook).
"Would you say that having to tell your donors that it’s okay you’re losing every single day has had a negative impact on your fundraising late in the campaign?," asked Greg Blair with the Scott re-elect team. "And as your fundraising lags, how much money are you able to put behind that Clinton ad you’re touting so much?"
Here is that new ad featuring Bill Clinton for Crist. It's called "Look."