Barring a major event or “October Surprise,” I believe that a comparison of the state’s political realities four years ago to how they stand today is a much better barometer of how the state will perform this year. And it clearly stands to benefit Mitt Romney.
Here are the facts:
- FACT: In 2008, Democrats enjoyed an edge of about 700,000 registered voters over Republicans in Florida. Today, that edge has diminished to about 450,000, as the amount of actual registered Democrats has fallen by approximately 173,000 and Republican registration has increased by about 74,000. This represents a net loss in Democrat voter registration edge of 250,000 since 2008.
(NOTE: registration closes in a few weeks, which means numbers may shift slightly before then)
- FACT: Obama outspent McCain in television advertising by almost 4-to-1 in Florida ($37 million to $10 million). Obama’s spending represented 79% of total 2008 presidential campaign tv ad buys in Florida.
- FACT: Obama defeated McCain by 204,577 votes in Florida, or 2.8 percentage points (51% to 48.2%).
So let’s put these figures into perspective:
- Despite a Democrat voter registration edge of 700,000 people in 2008, Obama only defeated McCain by 204,577 votes. Since then, that 700,000 Democrat voter registration edge has dropped by 250,000. In order to win, the Democrats will have to either increase Democrat turnout beyond 2008’s historic figures or win over more Republicans and Independents.
- Despite outspending McCain by almost 4-to-1 and essentially buying 79% of all presidential election tv ads in the state, Obama only defeated McCain by 2.8%. This year, on the other hand, Romney and friendly outside groups are expected to outspend Obama, especially in the last few weeks of the campaign.
And then there are other factors that should give Republicans even more hope.
First–and I know I am not alone here–I cannot name a single friend, friend-of-a-friend, or person that I’ve heard about who voted for McCain in 2008 who will now vote for Obama. However, I know of several who voted for Obama who will not vote for him again and will either vote Romney or abstain altogether. Obama’s failure to keep his promises to rescue the economy, improve foreign relations, and ease partisan friction have clearly had an effect on many who supported him in 2008 on a platform of “Hope and Change.”
Second, the Romney campaign has a much better Florida operation in place than McCain ever did. Let’s not forget that the McCain campaign was largely run by Backstabber Charlie Crist flunkies who all but sabotaged the race for John McCain in Florida after he did not tap the weasel Crist as his running mate. #thatsrightisaidit
Remember when Republicans on the ground were told there were no more yard signs, stickers,and other campaign collateral weeks before the election only to find out a few days after McCain’s loss that tens of thousands of them sat unused in a Jacksonville warehouse? I do. Despite these brazen acts of political malpractice, McCain lost by only 2.8%. It’s a miracle he didn’t lose by twice that.
In contrast, the Romney campaign is focused, disciplined, and run by conservatives and competent campaign managers like Molly Donlin and Brett Doster who possess a genuine desire to save the country.
Lastly, the The Republican Party of Florida this year doesn’t have a Crist-appointed corrupt chairman misspending or sitting on money that should be used to elect Republicans, and there won’t be a spiteful political prostitute of a governor extending early voting hours to disadvantage and get back at the Republican nominee for not picking him as his running mate.
These are all factors that are not necessarily reflected in polls, but that should be kept in mind before we conservatives decide to declare this race all but over. But by no means should we rest on our laurels. We must continue to remain engaged and maximize our efforts.
Five weeks is still an eternity in politics. Anything can happen. But let’s not forget that Governor Reagan decisively pulled ahead of the incumbent only a few days before the 1980 election.
And in four years he turned around an economy and geopolitical landscape far worse than the one Barack Obama inherited–and did so without a congress controlled by his party, a luxury Obama enjoyed his first two years.