Only 42 percent of white voters in Florida voted for Barack Obama back in 2008, but he still managed to narrowly win the state. A new analysis from National Journal suggests that Obama can manage to capture even less of the white Florida vote in 2012 and still pick up our key swing state. Sorry white folk, but your political capitol in 2012 just dropped. Well, unless Marco Rubio winds up on the GOP ticket.
Ronald Brownstein combed through 2010 census data and finds that in many states the minority voting population may be significantly more pronounced in 2012 than it was even in 2008. Assuming Obama manages to produce a high turnout amongst black leaders and continues to poll favorably with Latinos he may be on sound ground for re-election. The fact that young white voters are much more likely to vote democratic than older white voters nationally also works in his favor, though that effect isn't very pronounced in Florida.
"Obama, for instance, won Florida last time with 42 percent of the white vote," writes Brownstein. "Under this scenario, if he maintains his minority support he could win the Sunshine State with just under 40 percent of the white vote."
Though, Brownstein's analysis rests on the ability of the Obama campaign to not only maintain its 2008 popularity amongst minority voters in 2012 but also make sure that they turn out in numbers that match the recent population growth.
Brownstein contends that if he fails to do that Obama would then need to improve his share of the white vote in Florida by one percent.
He also closes his analysis with one major factor that could screw up Obama's minority voter math in Florida: Marco Rubio.
"Given Latinos' growing electoral importance and the GOP's sharp right turn on immigration issues, some senior Democrats privately say they would not be surprised if Republicans try to solve their challenge in a single stroke by picking a Hispanic vice presidential nominee in 2012," he writes. "In 2008, Obama became the first national leader truly thrust forward by America's changing demography. In 2012, if Republicans look to also surf that wave, first-term Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida, could be the next."