Presidential election 2012
Recipes for Victory in Florida's 2012 election
Two political operatives give opposing views on how to win the Sunshine State.
[Illustration: Jeff Papa]
Both parties will concentrate on Hispanic-heavy Osceola and south Orange counties, says Florida International University political science professor Dario Moreno. Voters seesawed between both parties in recent elections, he says. Democrats need to carry several big counties along I-4 and stay close in others. President Obama will likely never carry Polk County, for example, but took 48% of the vote in 2008. The same stay-competitive strategy holds true in heavily Republican Duval County, which Democratic presidential contender John Kerry lost by 61,500 votes in 2004. Obama, however, lost Duval by just 8,000 votes in 2008.
Approximately 45% of all GOP voters live in the Tampa and Orlando media markets — an area that University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus calls the highway to presidential political heaven.”But the area also includes many independent voters, and a Romney victory in the region will require wins in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. While Pinellas voters chose Obama over McCain in 2008, Kerry and George W. Bush ran a virtual dead heat in 2004. Voters in Hillsborough have picked the presidential winner in the last four elections.
“John Kerry lost Florida (in 2004) by about 380,000 votes. (Obama) won it by 230,000 or something like that. Winning Florida means doing well in Volusia County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County. We don’t have to win Polk County, but we can’t get creamed in Polk County. Our math to win is all about margins.”
“If we have good crossover appeal with our Democrats in the Panhandle and the I-4 corridor, if we achieve a strong win by more than five points with no-party affiliates in the state, and then we win in the Hispanic community. ... I think we have an opportunity to win.”
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