Tonight, televisions will be turned on, live blogs updated, and Twitter feeds a-buzzing as President Obama and Mitt Romney face off in their third and final debate. The debate tonight, on the topic of foreign policy, will take place in Boca Raton, Florida, in the southern part of one of the race’s most coveted battleground states.
In this election, Florida has 29 electoral votes, an increase of 2 from its 27 electoral votes in 2012. Looking at the numbers for Florida, 23% of the states population is Hispanic, that's 4,253,000 people. As the candidates vie for the state, they know a huge percentage of their potential votes will come from this demographic. Hispanics in general, are concerned with the issues of immigration and often foreign policy as it relates to their country of origin. As we gear up for the debate tonight, a look at the polling numbers in Florida, and how the foreign policy questions will pave the way for a winner in the southern state.
When looking directly at Florida, according to RealClearPolitics, the state is a solid toss-up. The polls at Rasmussen tell a different story, showing Romney with 51% Florida support to Obama's 46%. A different polling system, Scripps-WPTV News, also puts Romney in the Florida lead with a smaller margin 48% to Obama's 47%. The poll shows that Romney leads among Hispanic voters 49% to 46%. Certain predominant Latino voting blocs in Florida lean Republican. Cuban-Americans, for example, are historically knwn to support the Republican candidates. Puerto Ricans are another predominant Florida voting bloc.
According to national polls, Obama leads on the issue of foreign policy. The president was the perceived winner on the Libya skirmish at last week's debate and he leads the foreign policy polls 51% to Romney's 42%.
As the candidates head to Boca Raton, there appearance tonight will not be as potentially meaningful as the last two debates. Though Hispanic voters often reject Romney's "self-deporation" idea, their are stronger, longer-lasting ties that could place him as the winner in the state of Florida.
Whoever wins, will be 29 electoral votes richer.
For up to the minute coverage of tonight's debate, check out the live blog here.