Despite lavishing time, attention, and resources on Florida, the GOP appears to have fallen short again, turned back by a superior ground game and a message that resonated with the Sunshine states growing numbers of minorities.
While the final tally isn’t in, it appears President Barack Obama will prevail again in Florida despite the fact that the Republican Party held its convention in the state and upped their own ground game, delivering 50,000 more votes for Mitt Romney than they got for Sen. John McCain in 2008.
“They built a very effective, powerful turnout machine,” Rick Wilson, a longtime Florida GOP strategist, told the Washington Post
. “It was brilliantly executed, and it was driven by data and analytics that we have never seen before.”
However, others note that while the Obama campaign was successful in identifying and turning out Hispanics, blacks, and young voters, there is more to it than having a better machine.
“I don’t buy that, not in Florida,” Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, told the Post. Adding, “In Florida, and really nationally, [Republicans] just never put any emphasis on promoting the diversity within their party.”
Dan Smith, a University of Florida political science professor, told the Post Obama’s message mattered more with voters than Romney’s. “The superior organization mattered quite a bit in Florida, but part of that has to do with people’s interest in going to the polls,” he told the paper.
Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Republican lobbyist, told the Post, “There are things we need to think about, things we need to talk about, and probably some things we need to change. We probably need to be less reflexively and dogmatically conservative and need to take a new look at the people we’d like to represent — what their needs are, what their aspirations are.”
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