Jim Geraghty touched on this last night, but with the 99% tallies in, it's worth a closer look.
First, let’s look at the Florida Governor’s race, which had two high-profile candidates duking it out in an expensive, brutal primary campaign on the GOP side and a less intense race on the Democrat side.
An argument could be made that the vote total difference —419,017 —was due to the high profile nature of the GOP campaign. Rick Scott spent $30 million of his own money; McCollum had the financial support and backing of the party apparatus. But that argument doesn’t hold up too well when you look at the other major statewide races yesterday. Let’s look at the Attorney General’s race, next:
The difference between GOP and Democrat turnout in this election is on the same order of magnitude as the Governor’s race, in this case 376,734 votes, as is the total turnout for both major parties. This was nowhere near as much of a high-profile primary election as the Governor’s race, yet turnout and turnout differential are about the same.
Last of all of the major statewide elections is the Florida Senate primary:
|* Marco Rubio||1,059,546||85%|
|* Kendrick Meek||523,106||57%|
In this race the GOP winner Marco Rubio garnered more votes than the entire field of the Democrats candidates, combined, and the difference between total GOP turnout and turnout in the Democrat race is 342,313. There was a higher total turnout in this race than the other two, and the difference is less than the other two. These figures are still in the same neighborhood though, and these three races demonstrate a pretty clear pattern. In the three major statewide races, each shows a similar proportion of Republican vs. Democrat votes in the primary, with vote totals and differences consistent across all three.
There are similar patterns in US House of Representative races as well, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats in a handful of key races.
The only conclusions that can be reached is that Republican voters in Florida are more motivated than their Democrat counterparts, and since primary voters are the ones most likely to return to the polls for the general election, it’s safe to say that Florida is setting up as a 2010 battleground that Republicans look very likely to win, and win big.
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