Romney Faces Florida Setback as Republican Early Voting Lead Cut

Photograph by Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

People wait in line to obtain absentee ballots to vote on site at the Miami-Dade County elections office, on Oct. 10, 2012.

For more than two decades, Republicans in Florida have had a significant advantage over Democrats in absentee voting. Not this year.

After a week of early voting, Democrats are casting absentee ballots in nearly even numbers, posing a potential setback for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Bloomberg’s Michael C. Bender reports.

Small shifts in voting can have a significant impact in Florida, one of the states that strategists in both parties say will help determine whether President Barack Obama is re-elected. Three of the past five presidential elections in the state have been decided by less than three percentage points, including Republican George W. Bush’s 537-vote victory in 2000.

Out of about 275,000 absentee ballots returned to election offices through Oct. 13, 44 percent are from registered Republicans while Democrats account for 40 percent, according to numbers provided by Romney’s campaign and the Florida Democratic Party. The data is exempt from state public records law. Political parties and candidates are able to obtain and release the information.

That four-percentage-point edge is down from 17 points that Republicans had at the same point during the 2008 presidential election.

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