With the highest number of electoral votes of any of the battleground states, Florida is a key player in the upcoming 2012 election. Florida has a history of voting Republican, although Obama won the state in 2008. Polls show that the race is close.
With a diverse population in terms of age, socioeconomic status, and race and ethnicity, Florida is a microcosm of the entire United States. Florida’s Hispanic population plays a significant role in the election, with older Cuban Americans voting Republican and younger Cuban Americans, combined with other non-Cuban Hispanics, voting Democrat. In addition to their political leanings, Florida’s Hispanic population makes immigration policies a key factor in the upcoming election. Florida also has a high percentage of senior citizens, making issues such as Social Security and health care extremely important.
Although the job market in Florida is steadily progressing, the state reported an unemployment rate of 8.7% in September 2012, when the national average was 7.8%. Florida also suffers from a highly unstable housing market, with foreclosure rates rising in metropolitan areas throughout the state.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from Florida live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
Obama wins Ohio and the Presidency, as the key battleground state brings in 274 electoral votes for Obama and 201 for Romney.
"As Hillsborough goes, so goes Florida." Could this prove true again in 2012? Hillsborough County is a bellwether county in the state that can't make up it's mind. So far, President Obama seems to be ahead in Hillsborough County, but only by a razor-thin margin.
Long lines at the polls are delaying the possibility of a final decision being made. At the University of Central Florida in Orlando, hundreds of students stood in line when the polls closed at 7 p.m. By Florida law, anyone standing in line when the polls close still gets to vote. Long lines inspired the trending hashtag #stayinline.
With 88% of the vote, results still tied.
10:13 PM - Top Ten Tough Decisions Floridians Have to Make
1. East Coast or West Coast?
2. Disney or Universal?
...I mean, they both have a castle.
3. Gators or Seminoles?
Well... I guess they have this one figured out.
4. Surfboard or Wakeboard?
5. Orlando Magic or Miami Heat?
Well... maybe they have this one figured out too.
6. Boxers or Briefs?
...What? Floridians struggle with this one too!
7. Margarita or Corona?
Or... both? That's a good idea!
8. Jimmy Buffet or Flo Rida?
9. Bikinis or One-Piece?
10. Obama or Romney?
Oh snap... I'll take that Corona Margarita now!
9:33 PM - Amendment Update
Florida has a number of important and controversial amendments on the ballot this year. Amendments require 60% to pass. Amendment 1 hoped to opt out of of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in Florida. So far, results show that the majority of Florida voters do not support this amendment. One critique of this amendment is that it contradicts federal law and could be declared unconstitutional. Many sources suggest that this amendment would be ineffective. Another perspective argued that this amendment would show Congress that it had overextended it's authority. So far the decision is close, with a slighlty higher amount of "Nos."
The following chart comes directly from the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections.
8:20 PM - Florida's Flip-Flopping Results
Floridian's are used to flip flops. After all, we wear them about 95% of the year. So it should come as no surprise that the presidential election results continue to change between Romney and Obama. The two are neck-and-neck, with Romney ahead with 50% and Obama 49%. Obama leads in the larger counties in Southeastern Florida, specifically Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Romney leads in the smaller, rural counties.
For the U.S. Senate, Bill Nelson takes the lead over Connie Mack.
8:02 PM - Voter Turnout in Florida
Where did the voters turn out today in Florida? Republicans saw a good turnout in Clay County, the northeastern part of the state; Bay, Escambia and Okaloosa counties in the Panhandle; parts of Broward County in South Florida, normally a county which leans Democrat. On the other hand, there have been strong youth turnouts in college towns like Gainesville, where the University of Florida is located (Go Gators!) and Tallahassee, home of Florida State University. Jacksonville, with a large African-American population, Orlando, with a high Puerto Rican population, and Miami-Dade County have also seen high voter turnout for Democrats.
Electorate is evenly divided in this state. 62% say the economy is the biggest issue of this election. 50% of the voters think Obama will do a better job dealing with Medicare. 46% say Romney will do a better job. This is important in an election with a high percentage of senior citizens and an unemployment rate above the national average.
President maintains a lead, 52 to 47. Three million votes have been counted (out of a total???)
7:34 PM - FLORIDA'S GOING BLUE
Obama up by ~90,000 votes.
Last open polls in Florida closing in roughly 20 minutes.
Breaking News: 5% of the vote is in for Florida. Obama-Romney tied (Romney ahead by about 700 votes). Where is the vote? Some of the early vote is coming in from Orlando, where Obama won in 2008. Romney leads in Nassau County, a small rural county, where 100% of the vote has been collected.
Polls are closed in Florida (with the exception of the Panhandle, where polls will close at 7 p.m. Central/8 p.m. Eastern time). As such, Florida's election results will not be available until then.
Florida’s Hispanic population plays a significant role in this election. Florida has the third largest Hispanic population in the nation. Hispanics make up about a quarter of Florida’s total population and eight percent of the entire U.S. population. Like women and the undecided voter, the Latino vote is extremely important. Cubans and Puerto Ricans make up the two largest Hispanic populations in Florida. Puerto Ricans, who make up 30 percent of eligible Hispanic voters, lean Democrat, but not significantly. Cubans, who make up 32 percent, lean Republican. In September, experts criticized the candidates for spending too much time showing images of themselves with Hispanics, instead of actually addressing issues important to this population, such as jobs and the economy, education, health care and immigration reform.
More generally, polls show that neither candidate has an advantage, particularly in issues like Medicare.
POLLS CLOSE IN 15 MINUTES!!!