Florida has had a starring role in presidential elections since 2000. Bush won it that year by a few hundred votes. It was heavily contested again in 2004, but Bush carried it by 5 points, better than he did nationally. Four years ago, Obama snatched the state from McCain by a narrow 2.8 points, far below his margin nationally. It is again heavily contested this year. Recent polling, however, suggests the state to moving broadly towards Romney.
The RealClearPolitics average of Florida polling shows Romney with a 2-point lead over Obama, 48-46. Of the 5 polls conducted since the debate in Denver, 4 show Romney with solid leads of 3-7 points. And in the two most recent polls, Romney crosses the 50% threshold, registering 51% of support. Only the NBC/Marist poll taken last week shows Obama with a 1-point lead. Of course, being a Marist poll, it assumes that Democrat turnout will be higher this year than 4 years ago.
In 2008, Democrats had a 3-point edge in the electorate, just a tad higher than Obama’s margin. Since then, though, Democrats have lost about 230,000 registered voters, while the GOP has gained around 20,000 voters. Independent voters have increased by over 200,000. Romney is winning them by double-digit margins. In 2008, Obama won them by 7 points.
The Democrats are not going to be able to repeat their feat in 2008 and turnout an electorate that is more Democrat than it was then. They will struggle to even match their turnout numbers from 2008.
There are, of course, two more presidential debates and just over 3 weeks of campaigning to go. Obviously, a lot can happen to change the dynamics of the race. But, it is clear that, if the fundamentals of the campaign don’t change soon, Florida will move firmly into Romney’s column. The shift in the state since the debate has been dramatic and seems to be getting stronger.
Last week, Rasmussen had Romney up 2 points. Today, he is up 4 in the survey. Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times poll showed him up 7. Expect to see Biden or Obama in the state next week.