Turnout Key to Scott v. McCollum in Florida

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

As the polls open in Florida, political pundits agree that turnout could be the key to determining who walks away with the GOP governor’s nomination:

Will Rick’s voters show up?: Turnout could be a major factor in the GOP primary for governor. Rick Scott is hoping thousands of casual voters flock to the polls to oust career politicians. A lower turnout could benefit Bill McCollum, who has the party infrastructure and a stronger base of supporters. A win by Scott tomorrow would set the GOP establishment on fire — it would likely end McCollum’s political career and put his supporters on the spot over who they will back in November. Or how many people sick with the fight will pick third-wheel Mike McCalister?

It makes sense, then, that Tony Fabrizio, GOP pollster and Rick Scott strategist, is predicting a massive rush to the polls:

“Given that as of Saturday, August 21st nearly 520,000 Florida Republicans have already voted by absentee or early vote, we expect overall turnout of at least 1.7 million in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary,” Fabrizio said. “This would represent roughly 41% of registered Republicans, a 70% increase over the 2006 gubernatorial primary. This is consistent with the increased turnout we have seen in Republican primaries across the country, where outsiders have shocked the establishment candidates.”

That would be an usually high percentage of registered voters for a primary contest, but as Fabrizio notes, not an unheard-of figure for a hotly contested race such as this one.

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