Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

It’s Official—Florida FINALLY Gets Called For Obama

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It’s been five days since Americans across the nation hit the polling stations to cast their vote for the president of the United States.  The excitement of Election Night ended relatively early this year, as several key states were quickly called to push President Obama over the 270 vote line needed to win.  Mitt Romney gave an emotional concession speech, President Obama joyfully accepted his re-election, and it was a done deal.   Except for in Florida.

Even after the presidential race was over and both candidates had publically accepted their fate, voters in Florida were still lined up outside of polling stations in the Sunshine State. Wednesday morning rolled around and Florida elections officials still had not finished counting ballots.  Although President Obama had a slight lead, the margin between the two candidates was still too small for anyone to make a final call.

On Thursday, President Obama was ahead of Mitt Romney by 55,832 votes—less than 0.7 percent—with just over 97 percent of the votes having been counted.   Although elections officials had still not delegated the state’s 29 electoral votes to either candidate, Mitt Romney’s Florida campaign conceded the race to President Obama.

Romney advisor released the following statement to the Miami Herald on Thursday.

“The numbers in Florida show this was winnable.  We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win.  Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table.  I can assure you this won’t happen again.”

An Obama campaign advisor also told the Herald, “We feel we will be the official winner in Florida later on Thursday.” By the end of the day Thursday the race had still not been called….

Finally, over the weekend elections officials reported that they were done counting votes and President Obama was declared the official winner.  Roughly 74,000 votes separated the two candidates, with 50.0% of the vote going to Obama and 49.1% going to Mitt Romney.

The President secured the heavily populated counties of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange (Orlando-area) and Hillsborough  (Tampa Bay area).  The rest of the state went primarily to Romney, however, the population discrepancies were too great.

The demographic breakdown of voters in Florida has not yet been released, however, a few inferences can be made from the geographic breakdown.

South Florida is home to many more minority voters, especially Latinos.  Although the Latino vote in Florida is, on average, less left-leaning than it is nationally, they still tend to break more democratic.  It looks as though this year was no different.

 The map is also indicative of an urban/rural split.  Democrats usually fare better in more urban, densely populated areas, (often attributed to increased minority populations) while Republicans are typically more advantaged in rural areas.  This is the case nationally, and it seems as though Florida has fallen directly in line with such a trend.

It will be interesting to see what the demographic breakdown in Florida actually was, as there are so many different factors at play in the state.

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