The Map: Watching Florida
Both the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign believe that Sen. McCain has an edge in Florida heading into November, although the Obama folks will definitely contest the state as if it were a swing state. Let's dig a little bit into some of the latest numbers to see whether fortunes are shifting.
In the latest Quinnipiac poll (released May 1), Obama beats McCain 47-43 in North Florida and 51-36 in Southeast Florida. They're neck and neck in normally conservative Southwest Florida, 42-44. However, McCain leads in Tampa Bay and Central Florida, 50-34 and 48-38 respectively. Overall, the poll only has McCain up 44-43 over Obama in Florida, and it's important to note that in this same poll, McCain is getting the votes of 36% of Clinton supporters -- a number that will obviously decrease with time -- although how drastically, we do not know.
REPUBLICANS ARE 89-7 for McCain while Democrats are 69-19 for Obama. Among independents, Obama is only down 38-42 -- despite essentially never having campaigned here. Only 83% of blacks are committed to Obama in Florida, versus 95% in Pennsylvania. That will change, too. These numbers (excluding the regional ones) are strikingly similar to the poll's finding in Ohio. And only 29% of Clinton supporters say they are voting for McCain there, 16% of Dems overall.
In many parts of Florida, the economy is in the tank. The state has the second highest foreclosure rate in the country, and ghost towns -- ok, ghost gated communities -- are popping up. Consumer confidence is at its lowest point in 16 years -- and George W. Bush has a 24% favorability rating. (He was over 45% in 2006.)
So Obama has an opening here.