Is the Tide Turning Back Towards the Democrats in Florida?
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 04:17:12 PM EST
After more Floridians who went to the polls in November 2000 backed Al Gore than George W. Bush, Republicans set to the task of boosting their party infrastructure in the state so that they could win elections in the state without the aide of the United States Supreme Court. And by and large they were successful, reelecting their GOP Governor, Jeb Bush, with 56 percent of the vote in 2002, helping boost George W. Bush's share of the vote in the state by three points from 2000 to 2004, and electing a Republican, Charlie Crist, to succeed Jeb Bush in 2006 by a seven point margin.
Yet could the tide be turning in the other direction in the state. Even as Crist won in a race that never got quite as close as it could have, Democrats picked up two congressional seats last November and probably would have won a third had it not been for faulty electronic voting machines in the 13th district. And the momentum towards the Democrats in the state may still be building. Just take a look at new general election head-to-head numbers from Florida found by Quinnipiac University.
It's not just a matter of Republicans underperforming expectations in potential head-to-head matchups against Democrats in Florida that should have the GOP leaders in the state worried about their nominee's chances at carrying the state in the 2008 general election. Quinnipiac pegs President Bush's approval rating in the state at just 35 percent -- an all-time low in the state, as measured by the pollster -- with 60 percent disapproving. On the question of the surge, a similar 60 percent of Floridians stand opposed while 34 percent voice support. And given the fact that a Republican loss in Florida would make it near impossible for the party's nominee to win a majority in the electoral college in today's political map, these numbers should have Republicans inside the Beltway and around the country mighty worried.