The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

There will be - and already are - a vast number of post-mortems about how Barack Obama won Florida. But, the best take so far is the one appearing in this mornings Palm Beach Post.

The highlights of his success are that Obama successfully cut down on Republican success throughout the state, in counties like Duval, Sarasota, Polk, Lee, Collier, Pasco, and Escambia, as well as surpassing Kerry's success in strongholds like Orange and Alachua counties. It should also be noted that Obama took both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, which Kerry lost.

Obama was able to reach out to moderates across state while driving up turnout in his base. He spent a great deal of time in traditionally red coutnies, especially Northeastern Florida. DraftAlex mentioned his last rally in the state in Duval county, and how that area had become a strong focus for the campaign. The goal of the campaign was never really to win in areas like that but rather to drive out the vote, cutting down on Bush's wins in 2004, Crist's in 2006.

Even though overall turnout was down in Florida, Obama was able to expand outside the traditional approach of driving up margins in Miami and Pam Beach to be the first northern candidate to win Florida since FDR.

But the question we ask, does Obama's victory give us a roadmap to victory in 2010?

The last competitive statewide election was 2006. The differences between Jim Davis results and Obama's victory this week are stark. The only two counties that Jim Davis did better than Barack Obama were in Jefferson and Madison counties in the panhandle. And Davis did about as well as (or as badly) Kerry throughout the I-4 and many of the red counties that Obama won.

In the same election, however, Alex Sink posted similar results overall to what Obama produced 2 years later. But, she won a number of counties Jim Davis didn't. Alex won in Pinellas and narrowly lost Hillsborough (which Obama won). Just like Obama, Sink won big in Orange, Alachua county and Miami-Dade. But

Sink also won Pasco, Glades, Calhoun, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jackson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Putnam, Sarasota, Suwanee, Taylor, Volusa, Wakulla, and Citrus county- lost by Davis, Kerry and Obama.

The path to victory in 2010 is still the same as it was in 2006 and 2008. Democrats need to cut into Republican areas; we may not need to win- and in a competitive gubernatorial contest against Charlie, wouldn't- all the counties that Alex won in 2006, but we would need to make a strong dent into Republican leads.

Tags: 2008, 2010, alex sink, Charlie Crist, Florida (all tags)



Re: Economy & Job performance

President Obama was an excellent candidate.

With that said, lets also be realistic about Florida. Florida was one of the Top 5 states to get hit hard economically. ( just like Ohio)

With the economy in very poor shape, that really allowed Obama to attract republican leaning voters in these red areas of Florida. Just like many red counties in Indiana, North Carolina, & Ohio- the economy really pushed a lot of normally reliable GOP voters to switch sides.

Thus, we can do all the "GOTV" in Florida in 2010.
But the ultimate decider on how we do in 2010 will depend on how Obama performs as President for the next two years.

by labanman 2008-11-06 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Economy & Job performance
There is no question the economy drove a lot of voters for Obama. But two things to think about as well: 1) No matter how good a job President Obama does and how good the economy gets in the next two years, we will likely still be feeling the effects of it in 2010. Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist haven't done a lot to hep Florida recover and if they continue on their current paths they will both be weak. 2) Alex Sink won statewide with similar percentages as Obama and as CFO and considerable economic background she is a good candidate to appeal to pocketbook voting. If Florida's economy improves it will be likely be much slower than the average nationally -- and a Democrat like Sink can help move it along.
by DraftAlexSink 2008-11-06 06:08PM | 0 recs
An important line

"Obama was able to reach out to moderates across state while driving up turnout in his base."

I think that's a big part of the equation.  You can't simply turn to swing voters while ignoring your base or major elements of it.  And you can't play too much to your base that you lose any ability to win over swing voters (see: McCain 2008).

by TheUnknown285 2008-11-06 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Florida? Do they even matter? I hope they get their act together. But I am sorry to say that I don't really care what happens there. Maybe people at some Florida political blog are interested. Me, I'm in the Bugs Bunny camp when it comes to Florida.

by gert 2008-11-06 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

I'm not sure what "Bugs Bunny camp" means, but I'd  agree with you on one thing--Florida elections are too F'd up to allow the balance of our Presidency depend on them.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-06 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010
I posted this on and and both Florida blogs. But I thought people at MyDD, students of politics we all are, might be interested.

As for not caring about Florida -- well anyone could say "I don't care what happens" in a lot of states -- like a 18 state strategy for the Democratic Party (circa 2004). We could say we don't care about Virginia (circa 2000), New Hampshire (circa 2002), Colorado (circa 2002), and New Mexico (circa 2000), and the list goes on and on.

But then we wouldn't have Mark Warner, Jim Webb, Tim Kaine, Jeanne Shaheen, John Lynch, Paul Hodes, Carol Shea-Porter, Bill Ritter, Mark Udall, John Salazar, Ken Saazar, Tom Udall, Brian Schwietzer a majority in the senate -- this list goes on and on as well.

I get that you may not be interested, but ...

... when Mel Martinez's is a major race to get to 60 in 2010 -- many outside Florida will care.

... when Charlie Crist is trying to run for President and we can beat him before he even tries -- many outside Florida will care.

... when we can elect Alex Sink the first woman Governor of Florida and cotininue to elect Democratic women chief executives across the country -- many outside of Florida will care.

... when we redistrict after 2010 and we have the chance with the governor of Florida to create fair districts to get more Democrats -- many outside of Florida will care.

... when the 2012 elections come around and Florida has a new congressional district, a senate seat to defend, and and has more electoral votes than this year -- many outside Florida (and in the White House) will care.

So I hope you and any others change their mind and don't write off any part of the country ... even Alaska.
by DraftAlexSink 2008-11-06 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

I agree.

Florida is a vital state. And yes, I have a feeling either Mel Martinez or Crist may run for Prez in 2012 if they do well in 2010

by labanman 2008-11-06 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Mel Martinez was born in Cuba so he can't much run for president.

by jae1227 2008-11-08 08:49AM | 0 recs
Good points

We can't be unrealistic though.  Florida is actually 3 points redder with respect to the center of American politics than it was 4 years ago.

In 2004, nation = Bush +3.
Florida = Bush + 5.
Florida 2004 = +2 Red tilt.

In 2004, nation = Obama +7.
Florida = Obama +2.
Florida 2008 = +5 Red tilt.

In four years, +3 to the Red tilt in Florida.
+2 in Missouri as well.  

We need to do as well as we can in Florida, but in the next Presidential election, it need not be a primary focus as it was in 2000 or 2004.  Same goes for Missouri.  Considering the way states are trending, we're better of focusing on Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and Virginia.  Note that each year, Texas (w. no campaigning) gets bluer while Florida (w. campaigning) grows redder.  

by BPK80 2008-11-07 01:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Good points
I am not sure the camparison between Texas and Florida makes sense. In the absence of campaigning on both sides Texas was swayed by media coverage. F Florida had intensive campaigning on BOTH sides so it was going to be closer and follow the national trend less. Kerry left Flrodia in 2004 so there was a bigger margin by Bush in 2004. Florida -- also is not trending Republican demographically or by registration. More and more non-cuban- american hispanics and younger cuban-americans are shifting Democratic. In addition, Florida has a lot less to go than Texas. While I agree we should focus on other states as well -- we are not the party of lack of resources as we were 6 years ago. The Democrats will raise enough to support campaigns in all those states and Florida.
by DraftAlexSink 2008-11-07 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Good points

Florida's results are indeed more Democratic than in 2004.  It has shifted +7 blue, while the national popular vote shifted +9 blue, putting Florida 2 points behind with respect to other states.  

I think Texas is ripe for 2016.  I do believe that within our lifetime, we will come to a point where Texas is more reliably blue while Florida hovers in the swing zone.  Texas has a younger population and the Latino population is more Mexican than traditionally more conservative Cubans.  

by BPK80 2008-11-07 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Er, I hadn't realized we could just wish away state with enormous amounts of electoral votes simply by declaring we don't care about them.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-11-08 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Win the national popular vote by 6 points. You don't need anything else. Like James Carville said on election night on CNN, "There's no way you can separate the national margin from the state margin."

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-06 08:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Make that +7

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-09 12:02AM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

Sink vs. Mel Martinez would be an excellent race. I don't see anyone toppling Charlie Crist in '10, nor would I want to waste our only Dem statewide office-holder trying.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-11-08 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The Way To Win Florida

I'm pretty good at geography. I can rattle off 20, 25, maybe 30 cities in Florida. But when you write about COUNTIES, without describing them somehow, "suburb of" or something, anything, then it's too much insider baseball for a reader from out of state. I changed channels. Click.

by Woody 2008-11-08 05:18PM | 0 recs


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