Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Obama will win Ohio before Florida

There's been a lot of discussion about whether Ohio or Florida is more winnable for Barack Obama. I believe Ohio to be much more winnable and this is why:

-The white voters there are less conservative. The average of our last three Florida polls has Obama trailing by 18 points with white voters, 56-38. Our last three Ohio polls show Obama down by an average of just 12 points, 51-39.

-Florida just has too old of an electorate. We think voters over 65 will make up 22-25% of the folks turning out this year in Florida, and Obama is trailing on average with them 54-40 in our post-convention surveys there. Obama has a tough time with older voters in Ohio too, but his average deficit with them there is just 47-43, and either way they're not nearly as significant a part of the electorate. We think they'll account for 18-21% of the vote there.

-Florida Hispanics just aren't breaking for Obama the way they are everywhere else. The primary reason that Florida could be a better state for Obama than Ohio is that its non-white segment of the electorate is much larger. But since Obama is actually trailing with Hispanics in Florida right now that isn't doing a whole lot of good for him. He is faring better with them than white voters, but given that he's doing much more poorly with white voters in Florida than Ohio it's not enough to make the difference.

Of course this discussion is pretty elementary since Ohio and Florida have lost their must win status. Given how strongly he is doing in Virginia and Colorado, I believe Obama could lose both of these difference makers for George W. Bush and still have a 90% chance of winning the election.

Nonetheless if the election was today I think Obama would win both of these states, although the margin in Ohio would be a little better.


Anonymous said...

Democrats always lose the Hispanic vote in Florida because of Cuban-Americans. For Obama to remain roughly equal there would be great for him.

Tom Jensen said...

I don't disagree that would be a decent performance for Obama with Hispanics in FL, but I just think he needs to win them if he's going to do better in Florida than he does in Ohio.

andgarden said...

The minority crosstabs across Florida polls are just too volatile for me. Is Obama 10 points ahead with hispanics, 10 points behind, or tied? No one really knows, because every poll has a different answer.

My personal opinion is that Florida is a state where you have to be much more careful about demographic ID, and probably separate out Cuban and non-Cuban hispanics to have any idea what's going on. Polling in Spanish might be helpful too.

I think whites in Florida and Ohio are not very comparable. In Florida I think they're simultaneously more likely to be Republicans and to be pro-choice.

Anonymous said...

I think there's another factor at work here: Obama is spending MASSIVE amounts of money in ads in Florida (for example, he's blanketing Miami while Mccain is running 0 ads there). We're talking 3 million a week for Obama to .5 mil per week for McCain. Florida is the state with the biggest difference between Oama and McCain ad spending. ohio, meanwhile, is as close to ad parity as McCain gets these days.

Anonymous said...

Vote McCain! :)

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