FL-Gov: Turnout Predictions versus Actual Turnout

On Sunday, I posted my turnout projections for the Florida Governor’s race, let’s see how I did…

First, the ugly – counties where I was off by 10% or more either direction:

2010 FL-Gov Turnout Projections - >10% error

Nine of 67 counties had projections off by 10%, all experience greater than 10% more turnout than expected.  No counties showed >10% less turnout than projected.  Sumter was the worst with 9,021 more people showing up than were projected, a whopping 27.5% difference.  Nearly all of these nine counties are Republican base counties, with Democratic performance goals at or under 40%, the exceptions are Gadsden (65% Democratic performance) and Calhoun (45% performance).

Next, let’s look at the counties that fell between 5% and 10% difference from projections:


Twenty four of Florida’s 67 counties fall in this category, of all types and sizes.  The surprises in this category include Duval (Jacksonville), where local activists, media, etc were decrying the horrifically low turnout during early voting, particularly among Democrats and minorities.  In the end, Duval exceeded historical projections by 5.5%, roughly 13,000 votes – and Alex Sink significantly over performed in the county at around 45% as well.

Orange county was more than 20,000 votes over projection but was more than offset by under performance in Democratic strongholds Broward (42,000 voters short) and Palm Beach (24,000 voters under).  Some of these may see some upward correction with full canvasses of absentee and provisional ballots, and Broward is still reporting a couple precincts unreported — but it wont erase a deficit of 42,000.

Lee county saw 10,000 more voters than expected with slightly better than expected performance for Sink (.85%) — I’ll give the credit to the Lee County Young Democrats for that.  On the other side, it looks like another county where the Republicans were able to turnout a large number of “unlikely voters” for Rick Scott.  This is the demonstration of a campaign with unlimited funding that puts the money to good use.  Seminole, Lake,, Collier and Marion are all strong Republican counties as well.  St. Lucie, 7,388 votes under projection is a Democratic county, joining Broward and Palm Beach.

The sheer win:

These are counties where turnout performance was within 5% of projections, 34 of Florida’s 67 counties.  Ten within 1% – more counties were within 1% than were off by 10% or greater.

This is the largest segment and has a wide range of counties, spanning the spectrum.  Miami-Dade saw nearly 12,000 more voters than expected, probably due to the significant effort put up there by Kendrick Meek and Dan Gelber.  Hillsborough and Pinellas, homes of Tampa and St. Petersburg were key focus points for the Alex Sink and FDP/OFA coordinated campaign – both under performed in turnout by roughly 10,000 votes each.  I was pretty shocked by that, clearly the quality of the campaigns and particularly their GOTV efforts need to be looked at with great scrutiny.  Just throwing bodies at it doesn’t work, you need training and focus to deliver results.  Having a campaign/candidate with a message and appeal would probably help as well.

At nearly 5% under turnout projections, Alachua was a huge let down – home of Rod Smith and one of the most progressive counties in the state, we needed those 3800 voters to show up.  Volusia was a strong performer for Obama in 2008, 2010 was a different story, 7,000 voters under projections and they voted slightly more Republican than we needed.

Overall, I nailed it.  13,510 move votes were cast than projected, a difference of 0.26%.  I’m generally happy with anything inside of 3.5%, though I prefer to be over rather than under, but inside of 1%, it shouldn’t matter either way.  I do wish more of the people that had shown up were Democrats or voted for Democrats, but that is the fault of the campaigns and candidates, not the voters.

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