Thursday, November 8, 2012

President Obama Wins Florida with the Independent Vote

President Obama wins Florida with 49.9 percent of the popular vote, taking the state’s 29 electoral votes. The race was close with only a 47,028 vote difference according to The Washington Post.

Florida was the last state to be called due in part to long lines at some polling locations and absentee ballots that needed to be counted in such a close race. According to Huffington Post, Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said the delay was due to “an extremely high volume of absentee ballots” and because some precincts had voters still casting ballots past midnight.

The large group of independent voters swung in Obama’s favor gaining 50 percent of the vote. The percentage of Republicans was equal to that of Democrats, putting the decision largely in the hands of independents. The minority vote gave Obama a boost in the state. According to CNN exit polls, an impressive 95 percent of African Americans chose Obama along with 60 percent of Hispanics. Women, making up 55 percent of the voter population also favored Obama in the state.

The Interstate 4 Corridor had been a closely watched area for the election. Historically the candidate who takes the zone, which includes Tampa, takes the state. The I-4 Corridor generally divides the state; Republicans to the north and Democrats to the south. According to News Press, within the cluster of counties are more than 3.6 million voters and nearly a million of them are registered as independents.

Political contributors on CNN’s election coverage discussed the possible negative effect of Romney’s “self-deportation” comment made earlier in January on Florida voters. While Romney revoked his former stance, the statement resonated with the large Hispanic population. According to Naples News, in the past six years, the number of registered Hispanic Democrats in Osceola County only has grown by about 10,000 and Republicans have registered only 100. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan was another issue contributing to the loss of the campaign in the retiree-heavy state.

Although Ohio gave Obama the election, Florida was a nail bitter for both campaigns. Obama outspent Romney in Florida by $22 million but according to data compiled from The Washington Post by Dan Lipka, President Obama visited the state a total of 26 time while Romney made 38 stops. Florida made it to the top ten list of most visited states for both candidates. Both campaigns were smart to put their resources into Florida. Although it was an extremely close race, President Obama was re-elected without needing the state.


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