Obama vs Romney in Florida: Swing State Could Decide the Presidency

Floridians are excited and raring to go to the polls to make their votes count for the 2012 presidential election. Both presidential candidates are upping their campaign ads in the sunshine state and replaying their negative ads to the hilt as the election date approach. Obama has the Bain Capital attack ad where Romney is painted as a rich offshore jobs master while Romney has the stimulus dollars question ad which insinuates that Obama is his cronies’ benefactor. Rumors have it that Florida will be the prized battleground/swing state for the 2012 presidential election. 

Who will win Florida? A July 14 poll done by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. forThe Tampa Bay TimesMiami Herald, and Bay News 9 shows Obama at 46% and Romney at 45% with a 3.5% point margin of error. As of July 16, Real Clear Politics averaged all available Florida polling data and came up with 45.4% for Obama and 45% for Romney. Florida has the largest electoral votes (29) among the ten identified 2012 swing states making it a very important state to win, but it is not going to be very easy for Obama or Romney to make it happen.

Obama won in Florida by 2.5 percentage points in 2008 on the promise of hope and change. Hope and change was just what the Floridians needed after voting for George W. Bush for two terms. This election year, a lot of Floridians are concerned about the economy. They are worried most about jobs, gas/food prices, inflation and plummeting real estate values. The Mason-Dixon poll shows that only 35% of the respondents believe that Obama’s policies improved the economy, while 41% say that they made it worst.

Will Floridians vote for Romney then? The Mason-Dixon poll indicates that Floridians are comfortable with Romney’s wealth and see his corporate background as a sign that he can manage the economy better. What is bothersome for some of them is Romney’s reluctance to release his income tax returns and his alleged misdeeds at Bain Capital. Susan McManus, a distinguished professor of Public Administration and Political Science at the University of South Florida, did an extensive research of Florida voters demographics and found political affiliations broken down into 40% Democrats, 36% Republicans, 20% No Party Affiliation, and 4% Minor Parties. The largest racial groups are Whites (68%), Blacks (13%) and Hispanics (13%). 

Contrary to popular belief, McManus’ analysis indicates that seniors are not the largest age group living in Florida. Breaking down the demographics, 31% are 30-49 year olds compared to only 26% of those 65 years old and above. Even McManus admits that Florida is a tricky and complicated state to maneuver politically due to its “large, ever-changing and diverse population.”

The questions remain, and my answers are as good as yours.