On Early Florida Voting As On Every Other Subject, Republicans Prefer Their Own Facts
Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
October 26, 2016

Things look pretty bad for Donald Trump in Florida, according to Politico's Marc Caputo:

From polling to early voting trends to TV ad spending to ground game, Donald Trump’s Florida fortunes are beginning to look so bleak that some Republicans are steeling themselves for what could be the equivalent of a “landslide” loss in the nation’s biggest battleground state.

Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in 10 of the 11 public polls conducted in October. According to POLITICO’s Battleground States polling average, Clinton has a 3.4-point lead. Even private surveys conducted by Republican-leaning groups show Trump’s in trouble in Florida, where a loss would end his White House hopes.

“On the presidential race we’ve found Clinton with a consistent 3% - 5% lead in surveys that attempt to reflect Florida’s actual electorate,” Ryan D. Tyson, vice president of political operations for the Associated Industries of Florida business group, wrote in a confidential memo emailed to his conservative-leaning members this weekend and obtained by POLITICO....

“This is in all reality a landslide in our great state,” Tyson wrote, echoing the concerns of numerous Florida Republican insiders and experts....

And early voting in Florida confirms that, Caputo writes in a separate story.

Fueled by a strong first day of in-person early voting, ... Democrats threaten to overtake Republicans in the number of votes banked before Nov. 8.

Of the 1.6 million votes recorded Tuesday morning, about 665,000 were made by Florida Republicans (almost 42 percent) and 658,000 by Democrats (almost 41 percent). That means Republicans are only holding on to a margin of 0.43 percentage points in pre-Election Day ballots cast over Democrats.

The GOP lead over Democrats was 1.7 points on Monday morning, before the first in-person early voting polls opened. And at that point, on Monday, Republicans were well behind the 5 point advantage they held in pre-Election Day ballots cast during the same period of the election in 2012.

(Emphasis added.)

That's right -- four years ago, just as in-person voting was starting, there were 5% more Republican votes than Democratic votes. This year, the parties are much closer to even. And remember, once all the votes had been counted, Obama beat Romney in Florida. So Clinton is ahead of Obama's winning pace.

But you'd never know all this from reading a Fox story titled "Early Voting Suggests Tight Race in Key States Despite Clinton Camp Boast":

... early data shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with potential advantages of his own in battleground states Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.

... the Clinton campaign seemed bolstered in recent days by mail-in balloting in battleground Florida, where in-person voting started Monday in a majority of counties.

Early Florida numbers showed about an equal number of Democrats and Republicans had requested a record 3.1 million early ballots, compared with 2008 when Republicans led 49-to-32 percent and President Obama still won the state.

However, registered Republicans now have a slight lead -- 1.8 percentage points -- in the nearly 1 million ballots received by Friday.

There's no mention of the fact that this is a much smaller lead than the GOP had in 2012 at this time, prior to a Romney loss.

And if we go over to a post at Laura Ingraham's LifeZette titled "Early Voting Returns Point to GOP Enthusiasm Advantage," the spin is even more pronounced:

With almost 1 million votes already cast by mail in Florida by Friday morning, the Republicans are showing a 17,000-person advantage in returns.

That surprising revelation counters much of the negative talk regarding Republican chances this fall -- negativity Democrats and the predominantly liberal media are eager to spread....

It’s a surprising turn of fortune for Republicans in Florida, where Hillary Clinton has retaken a lead in polling over Donald Trump.

The early Florida returns could indicate potent enthusiasm for Trump among his base of supporters.

This is pure disinformation. The early-voting advantage Republicans had in 2012 has been greatly reduced this year. Steve Schale, a veteran Florida political observer, has some details on how well Democrats did on the first day of early voting:

Won Duval County by 1,700 votes. Duval hasn't voted for a Democrat for President since Carter, and is one of those places where Trump really needs to run up the score. Dems also won the day in Polk County, an I-4 county that also hasn't voted for a Democrat since Carter.

Won Volusia County by several hundred, again a place that Trump was hoping to build on the gains of Romney in 2012....

In fact, Democrats won every county along I-4, plus Pinellas -- including both Republican strongholds Polk and Seminole. The total I-4 vote was 48-33D. Seminole County hasn't voted Democrat in a Presidential election since Truman.

The right-wing media wants to spin these numbers positively in order to give GOP voters hope, and thus a reason to turn out. And there another likely reason for the spin: Anyone who gets news exclusively from right-wing sources will believe that Trump is ahead in Florida. If he goes on to lose the state (and the country), Fox and Ingraham fans are going to believe his loss was the result of voter fraud. How could he lose? He was winning!

And by the way, that Fox piece isn't billed as opinion. It's supposed to be a straight news story. I keep hearing that only the opinion side of Fox is a problem, but that's letting the rest of Fox off the hook.

The LifeZette post tells us that things don't look quite as good for Clinton in Ohio and Iowa. That appears to be correct -- here's an ABC story that says the same thing.

But ABC also reports the good news for Clinton in Florida. And that's the difference between what consumers of the "liberal media" and conservatives. Liberals will read that the good news for Clinton doesn't extend to those two white Midwestern states, and we can handle that. But right-wingers aren't getting the news from Florida that's bad for their side. Their media lies to them. Conservatives, I guess, want their own facts. The rest of us would rather have the truth.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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