Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012 Prediction: Florida is a Red State

This election season has been so unstable and tentative, but despite all this uncertainty, I'm willing and confident enough to make a prediction of what will occur this November: Florida will be a red state and its 29 electoral votes will go to Mitt Romney.

How can I make this prediction so early? Well, let's first look at statewide figures that I believe make the state red.

Senator Marco Rubio: Florida's current Junior Senator is considered to be one of Romney's top choices to receive the Vice Presidential Nomination (and is the current top choice of "The 'Right' Solutions" to gain the nomination). He has the potential to galvanize support among the Latino populations and can directly appeal to them, as a result of the common culture. Furthermore he has strong TEA Party support and as a member of Generation X, can more easily relate to and appeal to fellow members of that generation. Like no other politician currently in elected office, he has an amazing ability to articulate Conservatism in a sunny, optimistic fashion the same way Ronald Reagan did, while refusing to accept a faulty premise of the left. Romney would be wise to choose him and will guarantee Florida as a red state, but even if he does not, Rubio will play a strong role in helping to get Romney elected, especially in Florida.

Governor Rick Scott: Florida's governor, throughout his time in Tallahassee, has been struggling in approval ratings, but recently, they saw a jump, especially in Republican areas of the state. He has also made tough decisions to refuse Federal cash to, in the long run, save Floridans money. Furthermore, he has done his best to create jobs within the state and attract new companies to locate within the Sunshine State, while at the same time, focusing energy on its top industry: tourism, so as to attract new tourists and encourage others to return.

Attorney General Pam Bondi: Before serving as Hillsborough County Prosecutor, Bondi has been, for years, well-known in legal and political circles. In her position as Florida Attorney General, she is quite popular and has continued Bill McCollum's ObamaCare lawsuit that other states have joined. It has made its way through the appeals courts and argued in front of the Supreme Court and a decision awaits. If ObamaCare is overturned, Bondi's stock rises even higher and allows her to play a more influential role, especially in advocating for a Romney presidency.

In an analysis of the major regions of Florida, even the Democrat regions, Republicans win out; giving me more confidence in predicting Florida to be red this November.

Southeast Florida: This area of the state, consisting of the metropolitan areas of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, has a significant part of the population, but also, is the most Democrat area of the state. The population factor could be a disadvantage for the Republicans, as could the Democrat National Committee Chairwoman, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, considering this is her backyard. While Democrats will still win a majority of the votes in this region, I do not believe the plurality will be that great, as the high Jewish population is annoyed at Obama's positions on Israel, Congressman Allen West can prove to be a great assistance and even though he is running in a new Congressional District in South Florida, he still has a major following. With that lower Democrat plurality, the Republicans are greatly assisted and have to make up less votes across the states.

Southwest Florida and Northern Florida, including the Panhandle: These regions are the most Republican in the state. Southwest Florida (Naples-Fort Meyers) continues to grow and those new voters tend to be Republican voters. Northern Florida, including the Panhandle, is also deeply Republican, containing many military voters (who overwhelmingly support Romney) and is also the region that most resembles the demographic of the South. Rick Scott is heavily supported in these regions and Barack Obama is greatly disliked. Inner-city Jacksonville may prove to be a challenge, especially with a popular Democrat mayor, but Republican votes in the region greatly overcome what may be lost in Jacksonville. Furthermore, Conservative Reagan Democrats who live along the Florida-Georgia border will not be voting for Obama as he is clearly too liberal.

Central Florida, Including the I-4 Corridor, the I-75 Corridor and the Space Coast: This area of Florida is the wildcard and will determine the winner of Florida and its 29 electoral votes. I have extensively written about the importance of the I-4 Corridor (Daytona Beach, to Orlando, to Tampa and their respective suburbs) and the Space Coast in American politics; especially within the upcoming election.

First, the I-75 Corridor. Moving south toward Tampa, the first I-75 county in Central Florida is Alachua County, home to the University of Florida and Gainesville; a significant and reliable Democrat County. Next is Marion County, home of Ocala and Florida's horse country, one of the most consistently Republican counties in the region. Continuing south toward Tampa, the counties up to Hillsborough are also strong Republican populations. The Democrat vote in Alachua will not overcome the rest of the votes along this 100 mile stretch to Tampa.

Looking at I-4 and the Space Coast, both have been hit hard by unemployment and the Space Coast especially with the ending of the Space Shuttle program, and both saw significant Republican gains in Congress in 2010. Those votes will stay in the Republican Party, even though a new Congressional District being created in Orlando will likely be one held by a Democrat. For Mitt Romney to ensure winning this region, he will have to focus on what he believes NASAs role will be in a Romney Administration (We remember how strongly Newt focused on the Space Coast.), he will have to continue to emphasize Obama's economic failures in the Tampa and Orlando Metro areas - both of which were hit hard in the recession by unemployment and foreclosures, and he needs to campaign heavily to senior citizens, especially in areas like Sumter County, home to The Villages. The Republican Party is already showing their focus on this region, as they have held the first satellite CPAC in Orlando, which occurred during the straw poll's weekend, will hold the RNC in Tampa and with Marco Rubio as the VP, he will be spending a lot of time in this region as well. Both candidates will focus on this region, but as voters have lived through the hell of an Obama economy, they won't make the same mistake they made in 2008 and will work hard, knock on doors and make calls to get their candidate elected. With Romney winning a majority of votes in Central Florida, he wins the state.

When examining the statewide issues, figures and regional leanings, as well as the passion of voters who will go to the polls to make themselves heard, it is clear that Mitt Romney wins Florida and its 29 electoral votes (two more than in 2008). In doing this, he takes a key state out of Obama's column and gets a lot closer to that magical number of 270!

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