Florida Primary 03/15/2016

Since I’m down here I thought I’d launch this topic with a live report on the ground.

Background:
FL is a closed primary state. Voters need not declare a party but if you don’t you don’t vote in the primary. Voter registration is trivial & can be done in conjunction with getting a driver’s license. We are a Real ID state, so there are some obstacles there for the severely undocumented. But none above and beyond the Federal Real ID standards. Absentee ballots are free for the asking for any reason or no reason and can be requested online. Both registration and absentee ballot requests remain in effect until changed. At least in my county we also have early voting for about 5 days before the primary election.

Demographic sampling:
I live amongst mostly retired mid-level executives & former small businessmen. $2 million 2 BR condos owned by fatcats who stay there 3 weeks a year are nearby. As are working poor folks of all colors & accents living in crappy $800/mo 2 BR 1960s-era apartments. I see Maseratis & Bentleys driving every single day. And smoking rattling po’folks-mobiles every day too on the very same streets. Plus lots of caucasian-but-tanned construction dudes & fishermen in jacked up diesel pick-ups with train horns & confederate battle flag stickers in the windows.

In other words, I live in typical South Florida. It’s an ethnic & socioeconomic melting pot like nowhere else in the country. And I know LA, SF, and NYC pretty well.

Latest events:
The absentee ballots arrived yesterday en masse and my & my wife’s votes are already in the can. Our mailman was whining about the piles & piles.

So far I have received exactly zero campaign materials from any candidate from any party. I did get a generic request for money for the Ds which included the usual outrage triggers disguised as poll questions. It seemed pretty amateurish to me.

I saw my first Hillary bumper sticker today. It was a rather uninspiring & plain-looking slogan & logo.

I’ve seen a couple of Cruz, a couple of Trump, and a couple of Sanders stickers. No Rubio yet.

I’ve seen no yard signs for anyone.

I don’t watch a great deal of local TV, but from all other sources so far you can hardly tell there’s an election already inprogress.

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So much for anecdata, here’s some commentary:

I made a thread about it awhile ago, but I cannot comprehend how the campaigns are letting people vote before any of them have done a damn thing to build a brand here.

To be sure I’ve voted with no procrastination which is uncommon. But 100% of anyone’s advertising will be wasted on me because I can’t change my vote even if they persuaded me to want to.

Campaigning costs money. I get that. But if the voting period is 25 days long you need to get at least some of your stuff out there before it begins, not in the 3 days before it ends.

One of these days a candidate will figure this out and sweep the field.

The campaign will arrive on your doorstep in 10 days.

Florida may have a big haul of delegates, but about 1/4 of all the delegates will be selected on March 1, in a Super Tuesday primary spread over about a dozen states. The candidates can’t ignore those states, and there’s barely enough time for them to campaign meaningfully in those states, so the circus won’t get to the March 8 and March 15 states (notably Michigan and Ohio, along with Florida) until after they fold the tent in the Super Tuesday states.

And up until now, the candidates’ main focus has been on the four early states, which are about proving their viability. Because if you suck in those, nobody’s going to believe you’re going anywhere, with the result that (a) when voters in later states choose, they’re more likely to choose their favorite among the candidates that seem to have a chance to win, (b) your money dries up, and © you may just have to suspend your campaign, like everyone except Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, and Carson have already done. And Carson’s probably imminent.

So when were they going to get to Florida, before March 2? Maybe last year sometime. Really, that’s about it.

Most people who don’t like the primary schedule as it is (for reasons other than Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn’t hog the early limelight) seem to want a more compressed schedule. I’m exactly the opposite, and I think this is one more argument for it. The campaign’s already been going on endlessly - for over a year, by any reasonable benchmark - but there isn’t enough time when it matters.

How many people vote in the first half of that 25-day period? I’m sure they have numbers for how many people vote early, but is there any data on the distribution over time?

I suspect the campaigns just have to bet that not too many people vote in Florida before March 2, and that their votes won’t tip things heavily one way or another, and just leave it at that. What else can they do? It isn’t even a matter of money. The candidate and his/her top advisors only have so much time and attention to go around, and anything after March 1 is still well down on the list.

I’m in Illinois, another March 15 state. We can vote by mail and I’ve also received and mailed back my ballot. Three main races on the Democratic side, president, senate, and State Attorney for Cook County. Normally the State Attorney wouldn’t be a big race, but with all the hype over police misconduct, the incumbent, Anita Alvarez, is being accused of being too police friendly and delaying prosecution against police.

I don’t watch a lot of local tv either except for live sports. I’ve seen no advertising for any race yet. I’ve received no mailings yet either. I receive emails daily from the two major newspapers here with a summery of the news. The State Attorney race has been the focus of more stories than the US Senate race.

Hillary Clinton is originally from Chicago. Obama has all but endorsed her, so I think Clinton will win here.

OK, so it makes sense that the circus hasn’t arrived yet. But there’s campaigning, and then there’s campaigning. It makes sense that there aren’t Town Halls with the candidates, and interviews on local TV, because the candidates can’t be in two places at once. It might even make sense that there aren’t many commercials yet, because those are expensive, and a candidate only has so much money. But where are the bumper stickers, yard signs, and mailers? Those are all cheap, and there’s no reason you can’t have them going in all of the states at once.

For what it’s worth, Ohio is another March 15 state. I’m not sure if we have early voting starting yet, but I have seen such materials here (mostly for Sanders, but then, my daily routine doesn’t take me much into Republican territory).

Early voting just started. I got my ballot in the mail yesterday.

Enjoy the calm before the storm. Illinois votes on March 15 and does early voting for at least a few weeks before that. On the north side of Chicago, I see more Bernie stuff than anything else, but still only a smattering.

And the consensus in the political world is that they ain’t worth diddly in terms of winning elections.

If nothing else, they’re good for motivating the base.

Update 3/3/2016 early evening.

Super Tuesday is history.

I’m seeing a bunch more yard signs and bumper stickers though they’re still pretty sparse. They are overwhelmingly Clinton & Trump. Not much sign of anybody else whether I’m in the ritzy district or the po’folks district.

I’m in Broward county, home of Ft. Lauderdale. Our county election board http://www.browardsoe.org/ says we’ve got 1.1million registered voters out of a population of around 1.7million. We’re the second largest county in FL after Miami-Dade. Next below us is Palm Beach county. These three counties make up Greater Miami. Next is the county around Tampa (Hillsborough), then around Orlando (Orange). After that it gets *much *smaller very quickly.

FL is about 20million people total and almost 6 million or 30% live in greater Miami. Adding in Greater Tampa & Orlando gets up to 9 million and 40+% of the populace. So it’s a very urban/suburban state. There is a lot of hinterland, but it doesn’t have a lot of voters.

In FL voters may declare a party and then can vote in the closed party primaries. Or they can decline to declare a party and vote only in general elections. As of today our county’s registered voters come in at about 55% D, 22% R, and 27% unaffiliated. I wasn’t smart enough to capture earlier figures for comparison.

Absentee voting has been going on for a week or more. So far no numbers are available on votes sent in. In-person early voting begins on Saturday. At least my county expects to publish counts of total absentee & in-person votes each day although not who they are for.

The fat lady is warmin’ up.

Can you declare a party at the poll, or change parties at the poll?

No. See http://www.browardsoe.org/Register-to-Vote/When-to-Register . You must register before 30 days before the election, primary and general. After that you’re SOL.

Changing parties constitutes re-registering. I found that out when I originally moved here and registered as unaligned then received the details about being locked out of the primaries until/unless I re-registered. When I did re-register I got a new voter card with a new ID number. As far as they were concerned I was a whole new person.

On the GOP side, I predict a huge win for Trump.

Then what is?

One minor advantage Sanders has: There are a lot of Floridians who can really identify with an elderly Northeastern Jew.

<snip>

I thought you were in Miami…mostly because that’s your location. :slight_smile:
I’m in what we pretend is Western Broward, very much in the suburbs. Pre-planned communities, gates, cul-de-sacs, HOAs, etc. I haven’t seen any political signs still. Granted, I don’t get out of the house very much these days (stupid torn ligaments in my ankle), so I haven’t driven through some of the less…regulated areas.

I got my absentee ballot last week - put it in the mail yesterday.

ETA: My local friends on Facebook seem to be fairly evenly split between Trump and Clinton, with a few outliers for Sanders and, until recently, Carson.

I grew up in SoCal. of which all five of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, & San Bernardino counties are commonly collectively regarded as just “Greater LA”.

In my book anything between the Atlantic coast & the Everglades or open farmland from the south edge of Homestead to the north edge of Jupiter is “Greater Miami”. I actually live on the ICW in Deerfield Beach. Palm Beach County is within pistol range, although not quite rock-throwing range. As is the beach. That’s still Greater Miami by my reckoning.

Yeah, Trump and Clinton is all I see or hear. Plus a few protesting Sanders supporters.

The local term for the Key West - Jupiter stretch is “South Florida”.

Says the guy who’s lived in suburban Orlando for over a year now. :slight_smile:

Duly noted and location updated. :slight_smile:

I’ve always used the principal city as the generic for the whole area wherever in the US I’ve lived. I guess enough South Floridians really don’t like Miami proper, so they insist on some other term.

Does that include Naples and Fort Myers?