As a percentage of total votes cast in 2020, unaffiliated voters showed an increase versus their share of votes cast in 2016, while both Republicans and Democrats showed a slight decrease in total vote share compared to 2016. With Democrats and Republicans in a virtual dead heat in Florida, how those unaffiliated votes break for each candidate will shift the outcome of the election.
The data does not include votes cast during Sunday’s “Souls to the Polls” drive, which traditionally boosts Democratic turnout in the final weekend heading into Election Day. Sunday’s breakdown of ballots cast by party affiliation is expected to be posted later Monday morning. But heading into Sunday, Republicans had closed the gap so that the Democrat lead had shrunk to just 94,325 ballots as of 11am Sunday.
How those ballots were voted is unknown, but in 2016, Democrats led Republicans by around a quarter of a million ballots cast going into election day, but Donald Trump ultimately edged Hillary Clinton by around 167,000 votes when the dust finally settled.
This election cycle, more than one in five (20.9 percent) of all ballots in Florida were cast by voters without a party affiliation. In 2016, the No Party Affiliation (NPA) vote share at this stage of the election cycle was 19.3 percent.
The share of ballots cast by Democrats so far in 2020 is 39.8 percent, versus 2016 when it was a tenth higher at 39.9 percent, according to the Democrat ballot-tracking website TargetSmart. Republicans are close behind at 38.1 percent, against a 2016 performance-to-date of 38.4 percent.
One potential troublespot for Democrats: Miami Dade County, where their total vote share as of Sunday morning was down to just 41.5 percent of all ballots cast versus 2016 when they had a 44.1 percent share. Republicans, meanwhile, are up in Miami Dade, with a 31.0 percent share in 2020, versus a 2016 share of 29.3 percent. NPA voters have cast 26.4 percent of all ballots there, versus 2016 when they accounted for just 25.3 percent of all ballots.
But a bright spot for Democrats is Duval County, which posted substantial gains for Democrats and a drop off in vote share for Republicans versus 2016.