Awhile back, I suggested that President Barack Obama might have a problem winning Florida in November. The latest polls showed him with a significant deficit and emphasized the extent to which the Sunshine State has plenty of advantages for Republicans: Demographically, it’s an exceptionally favorable state, with a large population of older whites. Overall, among whites, Obama lost every age group by double digits; his best performance was among whites ages 18 to 29, whom he lost by 10 points, instead of 12.5 points for whites over the age of 45, and 22 points for whites ages 30 to 44. What’s more, Obama’s advantage among Latinos is mitigated somewhat by Cuban American support for the GOP.
When you take this together with the poor economy in Florida, it isn’t a surprise that Obama was behind six points in Quinnipiac’s polling. Since then, however, things have gone in the opposite direction. In the last two months of polling, Obama has held a modest four-point lead over the GOP nominee. At The New Republic, Nate Cohn wonders if it’s Romney that has a Florida problem:
Much of the change appears to be driven by a collapse in Romney’s favorability ratings among white working class voters—precisely the effect predicted by advocates of attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital. Romney’s favorability rating among white voters without a college degree dropped by a net–15 points between the May and June Quinnipiac polls and Romney’s standing in the horse race declined by a net–10 points.
If anything, this is further evidence that Obama is waging an effective campaign against Bain Capital. As Cohn points out, none of this guarantees that Obama will pick up the votes of white working-class voters. But if he can keep them from supporting Romney, or discouraging them from voting altogether, he will have won a significant tactical victory. And of course, Florida is crucial to Romney’s chances—if he loses the Sunshine State, odds are good that he loses the country as well.