Miscellaneous Polk Statistics: Election 2008


LAKELAND, FL (The Register) Thursday, 17 July 2008 - With the election cycle in swing, some people might actually be interested in otherwise “boring” statistics, so for those inquisitive readers, here are some basic statistics -starting from the top:


World Population: 6,710,586,797

USA Population: 304,621,833 (Ranked 3rd in the world, behind China and India, respectively)

(Calculated for: 10:45 GMT (EST+5) Jul 17, 2008)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Link: http://www.Census.gov/main/www/popclock.html


USA breakdown:

304.6 million population (this figure taken from US Census Bureau; the rest from USA Today)

201.5 million US citizens age 18 or older and eligible to vote (or 204 million *)

72 million registered Democrats (or 63 million *)

55 million registered Republicans (or 47 million *)

42 million voters registered as “Independent,” a minor 3rd party, or “no party” designation (or 32 million registered as independent or minor party *)

32.5 million not registered to vote (or 62 million *) (The 32.5M figure was derived by subtracting the sum of the other figures from 201.5 million.)

ANALYSIS: That’s 169M registered voters out of 201.5M , a “success” rate of 83.87%.

Disturbing figures for Republicans: Democrats outnumber them by a 72M-to-55M margin, especially disturbing in light of the fact that these are January 2004 figures, and Democrats have been registering voters at a higher rate -at least in the areas surveyed in this news brief.

Disturbing figures for Democrats: The last two Presidential elections have been won by a Republican -in large part due to a contribution from:

(a) crossover Democrats in rural areas;

(b) a disproportionate share of “independent” voters; and,

(c) lackluster turnout from registered Democrats.

Source for statistics only, not analysis: USA Today, 01/22/2004, by Al Neuharth

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/neuharth/2004-01-22-neuharth_x.htm

(*) Note: The second set of figures was taken from a slightly older USA Today article dated 11/01/2000: Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnists/neuharth/neu057.htm


Florida breakdown:

According to a July 12, 2008 story by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Republicans face a huge problem: The Sentinel claims that Democrats are registering at a nearly 7-to-1 faster pace than Republicans in Florida. However, the very figured provided by the Sentinel are 106,508 and 16,686, respectively. This is only a margin of 6.383-to-1 -not quite 7-to-1, and actually closer to 6-to-1. Nonetheless, this could spell trouble for the Republican Party in Florida in light of:

(a) The registration amounts taken from USA Today, above;

(b) The growing popularity of Sen. Barak Obama;

(d) Much of the gains in registration of new Democrats occurred even in spite of the fact that their party had no clear presidential nominee for many months; and,

(d) The glaring disparity in the registration rates taken from the Sentinel article, here.

Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/orl-voters1208jul12,0,466937.story

The Sentinel claims the Democrats’ edge over the Republicans among registered voters in Florida is 41%-to-37%. (This leaves 22% for “other.”) How does that compare with national figures?


From the figures above, we find that 72 million registered Democrats out of 169 million registered voters is about 42.6%, and 55 million registered Republicans is about 32.5% for 2004 figures. (The “other” category of 42 million represent about 24.9%. These totals add up to 100.0%, so all is well so far.)


From the same figures, we find that 63 million registered Democrats out of 142 million registered voters is about 44.4%, and 47 million registered Republicans is about 33.1% for 2000 figures. (The “other” category of 32 million represent about 22.5%. These totals also add up to 100.0%, so all is well so far.)


So, all in all, Florida’s percentage of registered Democrats is slightly lower than comparable national figures from a few years back -even in spite of the surging increase in registration of Democrats in recent months. Likewise, 2008 registered Republican figures are still over comparable national figures -even after the recent Democratic-leaning voter-registration surge, a possible explanation as to why Florida has gone Republican in recent times, when looking at the races in both state and federal congressional races -and both the recent governor’s and presidential election cycles. The 3rd party-type registered voter figures for Florida are slightly lower than national average figures reviewed here, possibly due in part to the fact that Florida is a “closed primary” state, meaning you generally can’t vote in a primary unless you are registered to that party’s primary. The Register’s editor-in-chief, Gordon Wayne Watts, is running for State Congress, House District 64, on a platform based, primarily, on “Election Law Reform,” regarding one major exception to Florida’s “closed primary” rule:

Source: http://www.GordonWayneWatts.com/Campaign.html (Main site)

Source: http://www.GordonWatts.com/Campaign.html (Alt. Mirror)


Polk County breakdown:

Polk County, with 483,924 residents, was ranked 8th in population in 2000 among Florida’s 67 Counties, and ranked 119th nationally, according to online experts blog, Answerbag. Additionally, Preconstruction Programs, a real estate website, listed Polk County’s and Lakeland’s 2004 population as 528,389 and 89,731, respectively, with Lakeland as the county’s most populous city, followed by Winter Haven (27,885). That calculates to more than a 9% increase in population in just a 4-year period -scary, one would think.

Link: http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/41283

Link: http://www.PreConstructionPrograms.com/real_estate/florida/polk_county/polk_county_area_information.php


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the USA, Florida and Polk County, with a 2006 population of 299,398,484; and,18,089,888; and, 561,606, respectively, have a land mass (in square miles) of 3,537,438.44; and, 53,926.82; and, 1,874.38.


What this means in plain English is about 84.637 persons per square mile for the USA, about 335.453 persons per square mile for Florida (much more populated!), and about 299.622 persons per square mile for Florida (densely populated, but not quite as much as the state average).

Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12105.html (Polk County and Florida)

Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12000.html (Florida and the USA)


Other Polk County Statistics:

Recently, The Ledger, of Lakeland, Florida, gave news coverage of a proposed budget cut for Polk County, and the reaction: Polk residents protested the budget cuts. First, we might conclude that Republican-controlled Polk County is not quite as conservative as it initially seemed -due to ready acceptance of the “tax-and-spend” motif often attributed to left-leaning liberals. Some of the more prominent proposed cuts are for agriculture programs, a historical and genealogical library, and construction of several new schools. The budget-cut recommendations (except for the schools) came from Polk County Manager, Mike Herr, and, according to Herr, based on a citizen committee review. The proposed school construction cuts came from Bob Williams, Polk schools assistant superintendent of facilities and operations -and was presented to a school board work session. Herr was recently in the news for a disputed and highly-publicized firing of long-time county traffic engineer, Ghassan M. Zebdaoui, who is currently running for Polk County Commission, District 3. Zebdauoi has, on many occasions, been quoted in The Ledger, as the county traffic “expert,” when citizens had questions about such things as speed limits, traffic lights, or road construction. (One example: “We contacted Polk County Traffic Engineer Ghassan Zebdaoui and he went out to the subdivision to check out that stretch of roadway for himself. He said that there are plans to widen the roadway from two lanes to four in the future, at which point a traffic light will most likely be put in across the street from the entryway.”)


In any event, due to a combination of Florida’s “Amendment One” (newly approved by voters) and the current economic downturn, spending is down. Amendment One, among other things, doubled the homestead exemption to $50,000.oo and       put a 10% cap on no homestead assessment increases -basically which translates to less income through property taxes, a “smaller government” and “less tax-and-spend” motif, favored by the more fiscally conservative voters. The Ledger reported that Amendment One resulted in about a $200.oo per year savings to most Florida homeowners.


Here are some miscellaneous fiscal figures for Polk County for the curious -or bored:


The Polk County Sheriff’s Office increased its budget from $104 million to $113 million from 2005 to 2006, and the number of sworn deputies on the payroll increased from 525 to 549 during that same period.


The Lakeland Police Department increased its budget from $25 million to 27.9 million from 2005 to 2006, and the number of sworn officers on the payroll was constant at 234 according to figures provided by The Ledger.


Also, the Polk County Property Appraiser’s office, headed by Marsha Faux, presently has a sum total of 114 employees (53 professional appraisers, 44 clerical employees, 8 supervisors, 2 assistants, and the remaining 7 being other, apparently supervisory Directors, the Chief Deputy, and property appraiser, Marsha Faux, herself).


(A quick check to make sure these figures are correct is in order: 53 + 44 + 8 + 2 + 7 = 114. Check is good.)


Their office has a listed budget of $8.4 million, according to Ms. Faux, who was kind enough to personally give me a telephone interview and have an email sent fulfilling the remaining publics records request made by The Register. She also answered my questions about how property is appraised, citing Florida State Law §193.011, Florida Statutes, which lists eight (8) criteria used in determining property values. In recent published news reports, she cites her experience and knowledge in her run for reelection in that office. She is running against Russell “Rusty” Boedicker, who is a local top-selling licensed real estate agent, familiar with the market. In published articles, Mr. Boedicker, who was recently the top selling agent several times on his firm, on  also cites professional experience -as a real estate agent who knows the market. His campaign platform is based on his plans to reduce property taxes, and his comparison of recent property values with the values for which they were recently appraised convinces him that he can do a better job.


Now, for some fun, a quick comparison of the last three news items is sure to be interesting -and quite unpredictable:


* PCSO (2005) - 104 Million dollars / 525 sworn deputies = $198,095.24 per deputy spent.

* PCSO (2006) - 113 Million dollars / 549 sworn deputies = $205,828.78 per deputy spent.

* LPD (2005) - 25 Million dollars / 234 sworn officer = $106,837.61 per police officer spent.

* LPD (2006) - 27.9 Million dollars / 234 sworn officers = $119,230.77 per police officer spent.

* PA (2008) - 8.4 Million dollars / 114 agency employees = $73,684.21 per property appraiser employee spent.


This is a “random” comparison -for no other purpose than to amuse and stiimulate thinking and discussion. For example: Perhaps that Sheriff’s Office has expensive equipment as overhead to drive up the cost per deputy; or, alternatively, perhaps the base salary for a property appraiser should be different than that of a law enforcement officer, based on the training, job risks, or other unknown factors -as in we’re comparing apples and oranges for no other reason than to amuse and have fun -AND present the reading public with solid statistical data that may actually be useable in the appropriate circumstances.


OK, that is all for now: Everybody voting for a candidate or a ballot measure, you (yes! You!), you should read up the candidates, issues, and actually understand what these issues are. Have a good summer, everybody!




Source: “Residents Protest Polk's Proposed Cuts,” By Tom Palmer & Kevin Bouffard, The Ledger

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080715/NEWS/807150418


Source: “Relief at Crossing Near,” By DANA WILLHOIT, The Ledger

Published: Monday, July 10, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20060710/NEWS/607100358


Source: “Intersection to Get Sign,” By DANA WILLHOIT, The Ledger

Published: Monday, September 4, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20060904/NEWS/609040351


Source: “Kathleen Road Not Done,” By DANA WILLHOIT, The Ledger

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20060911/NEWS/609110364


Source: “Lewis-Duff Needs Signal,” By DANA WILLHOIT, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, September 25, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20060925/NEWS/609250372


Source: “Road to Relieve Intersection,” By EVA KIS, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, February 26, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070226/NEWS/702260339


Source: “Accident Leaves Business in a Mess,” By EVA KIS, The Ledger

Published: Published: Saturday, June 16, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070616/NEWS/706160441


Source: “Mulberry Annoyed By Road's Name,” By Rick Rousos, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, June 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070618/NEWS/706180360


Source: “Busy Road Needs No Light,” By EVA KIS, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, July 16, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070716/NEWS/707160347


Source: “New Road Is Slower,” By EVA KIS, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, August 27, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070827/NEWS/708270382


Source: “Change Speed Limit Now,” By DAVID CLARKE, Letters, Lakeland, The Ledger

Published: Published: Sunday, September 2, 2007 at 6:38 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20070902/NEWS/70902009


Source: “Four Way? No Way,” By EVA KIS, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, December 10, 2007 at 6:32 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20071210/NEWS/712100404


Source: “Engineer Not Leaving Quietly: County traffic specialist who is slated for dismissal writes long e-mail,” By Tom Palmer, The Ledger

Published: Published: Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080202/NEWS/802020419


Source: “Corruption Exposed,” By JAMES ABERCROMBIE, Letters, Lakeland The Ledger

Published: Published: Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 6:11 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080207/NEWS/938504107


Source: “Polk Traffic Engineer Dedicated,” By BURT OLSON, Letters, Polk City, The Ledger

Published: Published: Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 6:11 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080207/NEWS/764943146


Source: “Tips for Traffic Engineer,” By CRAIG M. McKEE, Tiu Keng Leng, and Tseung Kwan O, N.T., Letters, Hong Kong, The Ledger

Published: Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080213/NEWS/802130514


Source: “Panel Upholds Firing of County 'Whistle-Blower',” By Tom Palmer, The Ledger

Published: Published: Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080313/NEWS/803130387


Source: “Zebdaoui Says He's Running For Seat 3,” By Tom Palmer, The Ledger

Published: Published: Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080614/NEWS/806140408


Source: “Ballot Qualifying, or 'Home Stretch to the Starting Line'B,” By Bill Rufty, The Ledger

Published: Published: Monday, June 16, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080616/COLUMNISTS/806160362


Source: “Hopefuls Take Early Steps Toward Seeking Office: First-day qualifiers, including some first-time ones, file to get on ballot.,” By Bill Rufty, The Ledger

Published: Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080617/NEWS/806170383


Source: “Discover Real Meaning of Election,” By Lonnie Brown, The Ledger

Published: Published: Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 7:20 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080629/COLUMNISTS/806290327


Source: “Campaign_2008,” official “Z For Commish” campaign website of Ghassan M. Zebdaoui, P.E.

Link: http://www.zForCommish.org


Source: “Understanding Amendment One,” The Tampa Tribune

Published: Published: January 13, 2008

Link: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/13/na-understanding-amendment-one/


Source: “Tax, Budget Cuts to Be Hot Issue in November: Candidates address Amendment One with Four Corners Area Council,” By MICHAEL W. FREEMAN, The Ledger

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080619/reporter/806190369


Source: “Budget Concerns Put Some Polk Schools Projects on Hold: The construction of 12 new schools, 11 other projects have been postponed.”

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080612/NEWS/806120490


Source: “Police Phone Numbers”

Published: Published: Sunday, March 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Link: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050320/NEWS/503200396/1176/GTP18


Source: “Law Agency Information”

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060319/NEWS/603190395/1176/GTP18


Source: “Imperial” Polk County Property Appraiser website

Link: http://www.PolkPA.org


Source: Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC website: Office Sales Associates page for Rusty Boedicker,

Link: http://www.coldwellbanker.com/servlet/AgentListing?action=detail&ComColdwellbankerDataAgent_id=190439&page=agent


Source: “Incumbent Marsha Faux Cites Experience in Re-election Bid,” By Tom Palmer, The Ledger

Published: Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080626/NEWS/806260462


Source: “Real Estate Agent Boedicker Says He Can Do a Better Job,” By Tom Palmer, The Ledger

Published: Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.

Link: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080626/NEWS/806260477


Source: “The 2007 Florida Statutes,” §193.011  Factors to consider in deriving just valuation.

Link: http://flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0193/SEC011.HTM&Title=->2007->Ch0193->Section%20011#0193.011



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Editor-in-Chief, Gordon Wayne Watts’ personal page – www.GordonWayneWatts.com (main)

Editor-in-Chief, Gordon Wayne Watts’ personal page – www.GordonWatts.com (alt.)