Early votes in Florida may show tight race

Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM
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MIAMI, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama may not benefit from early in-person voting in Florida to the extent he did in 2008, state elections official said.

Early in-person voting began Saturday in the state, where officials said more than 1.1 million Floridians have voted by absentee ballot.

Votes cast so far suggest a close race along the Interstate 4 corridor from Tampa to the eastern beaches and the expectation of a huge volume of votes from South Florida, The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

Of those who voted early or on Election Day in 2008, about 38 percent of those Democrats have cast absentee ballots this year, while 29 percent of Republicans have.

The political landscape in Florida has changed during the past four years, Republicans say. Unemployment and foreclosures are worse in the state than in most of the nation and Republicans are more excited about Romney than they were about McCain.

The number of minority voters has increased and the Obama campaign notes only 9 percent of new voters registered as Republicans, while 41 percent said they were Democrats and 51 percent said they were independents.

Voting rolls list about 250,000 more voters who claim to be African-American, Caribbean or Hispanic. Many of the Hispanics are Puerto Ricans, who tend to favor Democrats, as opposed to Cubans, who tend to vote Republican.

Only 8 percent of absentee ballots cast so far have been from African-Americans and only 9 percent from Hispanics. An overwhelming 79 percent of absentee ballots have come from white non-Hispanics, whom Florida pollsters have found favor Romney.

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