Having lived in the area for several years, I can tell you why.
Orlando and Tampa are close enough to each other that this project can actually be completed in a relatively short period of time. Both cities metro areas are over 2 million in population. There is a ton of traffic between the two cities... from commuters to tourists.
When I lived in Orlando, I drove over to Tampa about once a month or so for my job. I could have easily taken a high speed train instead.
Orlando has Disney, Universal Studios and Seaworld... true. Tampa has Busch Gardens and proximity to the Gulf Coast beaches. You can definitely expect a good bit of tourist traffic on this route.
While a Miami line would be great, it would be a LOT longer, and a LOT more expensive. In short... Tampa to Orlando is a very good start.
I grew up in Jacksonville. It has a sizeable AA population, but I don't think it's Obama country at all. It's near the Georgia border and very southern. Also of note, there is a large naval base there and many navy retirees in the region.
That said, despite the fact that the area favors McCain he was only able to pull 3000 people. Sad for him... and it makes me laugh.
I hope folks in Jax can get mobilized for Obama, but I fear most of them are like my brother and sister. Great people... love 'em to death... but I doubt they'll ever be able to vote for a black man.
Do NOT lull yourselves into a false sense of security. Do NOT treat John McCain like you would George W. Bush. Bush can't make a good speech either... and he still won.
Pretty speeches don't necessarily translate to winning. We need to act like we're underdogs and fight. I repeat! Do NOT let the pundits give the American public lowered expectations on John McCain... because when he rises above the lowered bar it will be seen as a victory.
Actually, I think your math makes them statistically even. If Clinton was getting a lot more white women then sure, she would start ahead, but she's not getting a lot more. And since Obama is getting the vast majority of AA voters, it evens the field so that the battleground then goes to other groups (men, hispanics, etc).
Dude, I'm sorry, I just don't see this being a viable ticket. Then again it could be my personal bias against Webb. He's said some things that I don't agree with... though I was extremely happy he got elected over Macaca.