This is the first of many posts I am going to write about the state of the battlefield in Florida and the forward trajectory of the state's politics.
Recently, the Florida Democratic Party released the most recent voter registration numbers, which show despite all the media hand-wringing about the fortunes of Democrats across the country, that Democrats added about 40,000 more new voters in 2009 than Republicans.
The Democrats now hold a seven point voter registration advantage over the GOP, for a raw advantage of nearly 800,000 voters. This the largest advantage for Democrats since 1990.
This alone is very good news for Democrats.
But the better news if you live on my side of the aisle: There is no reason this trend should slow down any time soon.
First, the Democratic trends are most striking among younger voters (Dems hold a 16 point advantage among young voters) and among Hispanics (registering 3:1 Democratic). In Dade County alone, between 2002-2008, the Democrats increased their voter registration advantage by more than 100,000 votes, largely on the back of changing Hispanic political behavior.
Since the last redistricting, the Democratic advantage has grown by some 500,000. And the Democratic advantage is growing in places where the bulk of people live.
For example, as of the book closing in October 2008 (I have not seen the county by county for 2009 yet), the 25 or so counties where the Democrats made the bulk of their gains comprised some 75% of the total two-party vote in Florida.
And even more good news for Democrats, in those counties that are electorally "swing counties" (ie- voted for Crist and Sink, or Bush and Obama), the gains are truly remarkable. In fact, the largest voter registration gain for the GOP in any swing county is in Pasco County, where they have added roughly 2500 more voters than the GOP over the last seven years. On the flip side, Democratic registration gains in places like Orange (plus 67.000), Hillsborough (plus 30,000) and Pinellas (plus 30,000) are all significant.
Further, these changes are threatening to move two major counties, Orange and Dade (remember Jeb won the county twice), out of the "swing" category and into "base" Democratic counties.
Add to this, we will go into 2010 with our strongest top to bottom statewide ticket in years.
I am going to have much more on this subject in the near future, but needless to say, from my perspective, the long term futures market for Democrats is very bright in Florida.