New Perspective on How Obama Won Florida -- or not?
Obama at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise this fall
Freshly arrived election data, suggests that Barack Obama's defeat of John McCain in Florida was not the product of an energized Democratic base:
Updated election data shows that Florida Republicans actually turned out at a greater rate than Democrats -- nearly 80 percent of Republicans voted, compared to 76 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of other voters. GOP turnout grew 1 percent from 2004; Democratic turnout grew 3 percent.
The article concludes that the key to Obama's win was swing voters. But we already knew that. The real question is exactly how Obama's campaign attracted swing voters, and I think it was the unprecedented energy and organization of Democrats in this cycle -- specifically, Obama's faithful, many of whom were volunteers who lived in states that were already safely Democrat and came here to work on the front lines of a battleground state. This breed was different than the complacent, listless Dems who routinely get routed in elections for the state legislature. That, I'm convinced, is why there were no "coattails" for Democrats in other races -- those candidates relied on the old organization.
While the Obama catalysts may have sparked only a modest increase in turnout among registered Democrats, their object was always to reach moderate Republicans and independents -- the portion of the electorate that was up for grabs this fall. In doing so, maybe they taught the state party a thing or two.
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