By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff
With early voting set to begin in Florida on Monday, Democrats have decisively won the fight to register new voters in the key presidential battleground state, extending their enrollment lead by almost 350,000 voters since January and nearly 200,000 in the past 10 weeks alone, according to new data released today.
As of the Oct. 6 registration deadline, Democrats led Republicans by 657,775 voters, or 5.8 percent of the state's more than 11.2 million voters, according to figures posted by the state's Division of Elections on its website this afternoon..
Four years ago, when President George W. Bush defeated Democrat John F. Kerry by about 381,000 votes, Democrats held a registration lead over Republicans of about 369,000, or 3.6 percent.
The new figures show that since the Florida presidential primary in late January, Democrats have added 585,009 more voters compared to 238,574 for Republicans, with most of the additions coming in the 10 weeks since the state primary election in August.
While Democrats traditionally have enjoyed a slight advantage in party registration in the Sunshine State, many Democrats, particularly in the conservative northern part of the state, often cast ballots for Republican candidates in presidential elections.
And so far, the Associated Press reports, Florida voters had requested more than 1.6 million absentee ballots, with registered Republicans requesting about 220,000 more ballots than Democrats, according to numbers compiled by both political parties.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.