Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008
How he did it
The Obama campaign won Florida with a combination of surging black turnout, significant improvement with Hispanics, and finally capturing the "white whale" of the Florida Democratic Party: the I-4 corridor... From the Miami Herald:

Obama's Florida victory over John McCain came with dominance in South Florida -- particularly in Miami-Dade and Broward counties -- the important Interstate 4 corridor in Central Florida and farther north in Gainesville and Tallahassee.

It was a stinging defeat for Republicans who control the Legislature and governor's mansion and, until just two months ago, were openly questioning whether the Democrat would campaign full force in the nation's biggest swing state.

But hard financial times, McCain's gaffe in Jacksonville, where he said the ''fundamentals of the economy are strong,'' and Obama's juggernaut of a campaign inalterably changed the race.

Obama captured a lopsided share of Florida votes from young people and first-time voters, won comfortably among independents, and managed to best McCain among Hispanic voters by double digits statewide, according to Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International exit poll of voters.

Once a reliable Republican voting bloc, Hispanics have shifted more toward Democrats in recent years as South and Central Americans started swelling the voter rolls statewide and curbing the influence of Miami-Dade's Cuban Americans, who comprise about 70 percent of the county's Republican voter rolls. Obama carried Miami-Dade County by 140,000 votes and Broward County by almost 240,000.

Steve Schale, who ran the Florida campaign, gets a lot of credit for this win, along with a huge team of staff and volunteers (I worked for the campaign for a scant few weeks at the end, but the operation was amazing to behold.)

Turnout in Broward was 693,929, or 69.8% -- still underperforming the state (72.4%) but better than in recent years. Miami-Dade turnout was 68.7%, but that too meant a bucket-load of voters: 854,654. Obama won the state with over 4 million votes: 4,110,174 votes to McCain's 3,910,185 (50.9% to 48.4%). Bob Barr and Ralph Nader were total non-factors.

Florida showed some rejectionism, saying no to taking a provision disallowing non-citizens from owning property (a vestige of the anti-Chinese early 20th century) out of the Constitution and passing yet another gay marriage ban (Florida's constitution already has one.) Proving that Floridians will back anything that looks like a tax cut, the state's voters passed a couple of additional property tax slashers, and rejected a measure that would have boosted community college funding. Go figure. It's Florida. We don't really DO education here...

In Congress, Florida actually LOST ground. Scandal-plagued Democrat Tim Mahoney was defeated, while all other incumbents held their seats.


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posted by JReid @ 11:35 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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