But here is the really good news and it only gets better. Shortly after I returned from voting my good friend, the national political consultant about whom I have written previously, called to ask me about my “early voting experience.”
After describing what I had seen and heard during the last two hours, I mentioned that Romney/Ryan were first on the ballot. He was overjoyed to hear this news, telling me that historically, any candidate whose name is first on the ballot in a particular jurisdiction usually receives an extra five percent of the vote.
Now, I was even more curious to understand why Romney/Ryan were listed first. On Google, it took all of three seconds to find the answer in this piece from the Tampa Bay Times headlined:
Why is the Florida Ballot not ordered alphabetically or by incumbent? Statute
Glance at a general election ballot from any of Florida’s 67 counties and you’ll notice that Republican candidates are listed first in every instance. Mitt Romney‘s name appears above President Barack Obama‘s. U.S. Rep. Connie Mack is listed above incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. And so on down the ballot.
This is because Florida has a rule dictating what whichever party gets more votes in the gubernatorial election gets to appear first on the ballot. Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2010 win cemented Obama’s No. 2 placement on ballots across the state.
So now, here is a thank you to Governor Rick Scott from all Romney supporters who are now aware that Romney/Ryan appearing first on the ballot could translate into a five percent vote increase that could be the margin of victory in this “must win” swing state.
But wait, here is the kicker illustrating the great historical significance and impact of Florida presidential ballot name order.
The Tampa Bay Times piece mentions ballot name order as an important factor relating to Florida’s 2000 contested presidential election. (Surely you remember that election.)
Stanford University professor John Krosnick, who has studied ballot order for over a decade, found that in the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush got 9 percent more votes in the California districts where he was listed first than in the ones where he was listed last. (California rotates candidates’ ballot placement.)
That year, Bush appeared first on all Florida ballots, a result of his brother being the state’s Republican governor.
Asked about the effect of this in a 2006 interview with NPR, Krosnick said it could have changed the election’s outcome.
“So if anything approximating that, even half of it, even a quarter of it, even a tenth of it, had occurred in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have won the presidency in that year,” he said.
Once again, thank you Governor Rick Scott for winning in 2010. To be honest I voted for you then, but have never been a big fan of yours, until now.