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Electoral College Analysis: Florida

Florida's Electoral Votes: 27

Washington Post Analysis

The biggest single prize among the remaining battleground states, Florida has endured four hurricanes over the past two months and now looks toward another potentially chaotic and disputed Election Day. The race is too close too call, although Republicans are expressing growing confidence.

Long lines at early voting sites and the armies of lawyers preparing for battle suggest that the fervor from the 36-day recount of 2000 has barely cooled during Bush's presidency. By the time all the polls open Tuesday morning, more than 2 million Floridians -- a third or more of total turnout -- may already have cast their ballots.

Bush has several advantages, starting with the popularity of his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush (R), whose approval ratings are the envy of the White House. Nor is the Florida economy a particular drag on Bush's fortunes. Most important may be the issue of terrorism, which overwhelms other issues.

But Kerry has assets of his own, if he can press home his message on health care and education. Dissatisfaction with the new Medicare prescription drug benefit may help him with seniors. Organizationally, he is far ahead of where Al Gore was in 2000, having targeted the state earlier, spent heavily on television and built a broader operation. A ballot initiative on the minimum wage also could help.

Polls remain tight, with one strategist quipping, "Nobody's been outside the margin of error for months." But some polls have detected a slight move in Bush's direction over the past few days. Democrats say their ground operation will carry the day, but Republicans vow that won't happen in the Sunshine State this year.

In the Senate race, Republicans hope to pick off the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D). But former housing secretary Mel R. Martinez is in a tight race against Betty Castor (D), former president of the University of South Florida and former education commissioner; the race has closely tracked the presidential race in polls. In House races, Republican Connie Mack IV, son of the former senator, is heavily favored to take the seat vacated by Porter J. Goss, the new CIA director, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) should win the district represented by Rep. Peter Deutsch (D), who lost his bid for the Senate nomination to Castor.

Bush, Kerry in Reach of Electoral Win
By David S. Broder, Dan Balz and Charles Babington
(The Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2004)

Recent Polls

Source: Reuters/Zogby
Respondents: 601 likely voters
Time: Oct. 29 - Nov. 1
Margin of Error: +/- 4.1%

Kerry 48%
Bush 48%
Other 1.6%
Undecided 3%

Source: Quinnipiac
Respondents: 1,098 likely voters
Time: Oct. 27 - 31
Margin of Error: +/- 3%

Bush 51%
Kerry 43%
Nader 1%
Undecided 5%

Source: CNN-USA Today-Gallup
Respondents: 1,138 likely voters
Time: Oct. 28 - 30
Margin of Error: +/- 3%

Kerry 49%
Bush 46%
Undecided 5%

Source: MSNBC-Knight Ridder (by Mason-Dixon)
Respondents: 625 likely voters
Time: Oct. 26 - 29
Margin of Error: +/- 4%

Bush 49%
Kerry 45%
Nader 1%
Undecided 5%

Source: Los Angeles Times
Respondents: 510 likely voters
Time: Oct. 22-26
Margin of Error: +/- 4%

Bush 51%
Kerry 43%
Nader 2%
Undecided 4%

Source: American Research Group
Respondents: 600 likely voters
Time: Oct. 23-25
Margin of Error: +/- 4%

Kerry 49%
Bush 46%
Nader 1%
Undecided 4%

Is Nader on the ballot: Yes

Past Presidential Vote Breakdowns

Bush (R): 49% *state went to Bush
Gore (D): 49%

Clinton (D): 48%
Dole (R): 43%

Bush (R): 41%
Clinton (D): 39%
Perot (I): 9%

Bush (R): 61%
Dukakis (D): 39%

Current Elected Officials

name (party), year last elected, percent won

Jeb Bush (R), 2002, 56%

Bill Nelson (D), 2002, 51%
Bob Graham (D), 1998, 63%

18 Republican
7 Democrats

More on Florida

Florida Under the Magnifying Glass
String of Electoral Storms Bear Down on Florida (washingtonpost.com article and video)

Legal Battle for Presidency Underway (The Washington Post, October 20, 2004)

Battlegrounds: Florida and Education
A Test in Florida (washingtonpost.com article and video)

Shifting Loyalties Among Ethnic Groups a Factor (The Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2004)

Crucial Florida Vote May Hinge On Burgeoning Latino Population (The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2004)

All Florida Races

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