Monday, November 17, 2008

The Issues Changed: Florida

PPP's newest report looks at how the issues changed over the course of 2008 in the key swing states of Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio and how that contributed to Barack Obama's landslide victory. This is the section on Florida. You can read the full report here.

When PPP first polled a McCain/Obama contest in Florida, McCain held a 46-40 lead. The three top issues in the state were the War in Iraq, polling at 33%, the economy, polling at 26%, and immigration, polling at 11%.

By late October the economy was 61%, the war was at 12%, and immigration was the biggest concern for only 2% of Floridians.

John McCain’s prospects in the state were definitely hurt by decreased voter concern over immigration:


% listing immigration as top issue

McCain lead with those voters

Overall McCain advantage based on immigration voters









Even though only 11% of voters were describing immigration as their main concern in early 2008, they were supporting John McCain at such an overwhelming rate that he was picking up the equivalent of almost an eight point lead overall based on those voters. In other words almost his entire January lead over Obama in Florida could be traced back to folks voting on immigration.

But then the economy went bad and folks started voting on pocketbook issues instead of things like immigration. Needless to say that was to Barack Obama’s considerable benefit:


% listing economy as top issue

Obama lead with those voters

Overall Obama lead based on economy voters









Obama’s lead among voters whose top concern was the economy barely changed at all between January and November. But the proportion of voters sure did, to the point where Obama picked up nearly eight and a half points between the winter and fall just among those voters. Given that he was down six in January and won the state by three in November it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to say that increased voter worry over the economy was probably the single biggest factor driving the Democratic victory in the Sunshine State.

Independents and conservative Democrats who might have decided who to vote for President based on a set of issues that is favorable to Republicans at the top of the ticket in a normal election year instead voted on the economy, and that was crucial to Obama’s prospects.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama's 52.8% victory to McCain's 45.9% is not a landslide no matter how you look at it.

Once I saw this gibberish, I didn't need to read any further.

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