FIRST in a SERIES.
The takeaway: Liberal Broward County’s 2014 vote for the Republican candidate for Governor was less than 30% (the lowest countywide percentage for a Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Broward for available historical records), and Broward was the only county in the state where the raw vote total for Governor Scott was actually lower than he received in 2010.
STATEWIDE. The election results have finally been certified. Governor Rick Scott officially won Florida with a margin of 64,145 votes. I, of course, was very pleased that Governor Scott was reelected. As I’ve done in the past, I’ll attempt to put all of these numbers in context, and compare them to past elections. I started by analyzing some Sarasota county election results here, here and here. Now, after some requests, I’ll begin with some Broward County election analysis before moving onto statewide trends.
BROWARD BACKGROUNDER. First, let’s start with a little Broward County election history. (I grew up there.) Registered Republican numbered 236,069 voters, while Democrats numbered 545,119 as of the book closing date of the November 2014 election. As you can see, Broward county is a liberal bastion that Democratic candidates depend upon to deliver them votes. Typically, a Republican candidate had to pull about 35% of the vote in Broward in order to win the state of Florida. Governor Scott changed this dynamic back in 2010 when he won Florida while only receiving 33.35% of the vote in Broward. He did this with increased turnout from the northern, more Republican parts of Florida. 2010 was also a “Republican wave” year, where Democratic turnout was depressed compared to past election cycles. In Broward, total turnout was only 41% back in 2010. (This is turnout of all voters. Turnout by party is generally available from the Supervisor of elections about a month after the election. When turnout is low in heavily Democratic Broward County, that usually means Democrats didn’t turn out. In fact, Republicans in Broward had about a 49% turnout in 2010.) This year, total turnout was 44.48%, which means that Democratic turnout had to have increased compared to 2010. Broward has generally exhibited lower turnout in recent years (since 1998) compared to the state as a whole, which had a 50.51% turnout in 2014, and may be explained by reading the Decline of the Broward’s Midterm Voter.
BROWARD VOTE TOTALS FOR SCOTT AND CRIST. In Broward, it was 138,394 votes for Scott and 318,950 votes for Crist. That’s a margin of 180,556 for Crist. As I mentioned, Broward county is a liberal bastion so it was a typically lopsided showing. In fact, it seems to be the worst showing for a Republican gubernatorial candidate as far back as the data is available. Going back to 1978 (as far as available on the state and local supervisor of elections, see graphic below), I couldn’t find any gubernatorial election where the Republican received less than 30% of the vote in Broward, but in this year’s election Scott only received 29.47% in Broward. Democrat Charlie Crist increased the Broward Democratic margin of victory by a whopping 49,395 votes better than Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink in 2010. Governor Scott had to overcome these deficits by adding some serious numbers from Duval, St. Johns, and Sumter, as well as ratcheting up his margins in many other smaller counties throughout the state. Crist performed far behind Sink in northern Florida, where he spent little time campaigning. Scott actually received 2,051 less raw votes in Broward County than he did in 2010. Broward was the only county in the state where the raw vote total for Scott was actually lower than in 2010.
In future posts in this series, I’ll try to examine why the vote turned out like it did by reviewing turnout and voter performance, comparing the more Republican east side of Broward county to the rest of the county, analyzing demographic trends, and trying to draw some conclusions to explain the numbers.
Richard DeNapoli served as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Broward County from December 2010 through December 2012, as was a delegate to the 2008 and 2012 Republican National Conventions from Broward County. He is an attorney and Certified Financial Planner (R) who now lives in Sarasota County with his family. You can read more about Richard at www.richard-denapoli.com.