Obama’s prospects in Sunshine State anything but sunny

President Barack Obama, center, and Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., second from right, pose for photos at Jerry's Famous Deli after a fundraiser for Florida Democrats, in this Aug. 18, 2010 file photo taken in Miami Beach, Fla. President Barack Obama has problems in Florida that he didn't have when he won the pivotal swing state in 2008. The challenges show why Obama has been a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, FILE)

President Barack Obama has problems in Florida that he didn’t have when he won the prized state in 2008.

The state’s economy is worse than elsewhere. Foreclosures are high. Property values are low. As president, Obama could be blamed.

Voters’ shifting attitudes show the degree to which the atmosphere has changed since his first campaign. Florida Democrats made gains in 2008 with Obama on the top of the ticket, but the GOP won big two years later.

All that explains why Florida Democrats are redoubling their efforts to re-energize the rank and file, including at the state party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night.

And it’s why Obama’s campaign team has been on the ground training volunteers 17 months before the election and why the president has been such a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State.

Over the past 10 months, he has played mini-golf and hit the waves in Panama City Beach, eaten a corned beef sandwich at a Miami Beach deli, visited Cape Canaveral, addressed community college graduates in Miami and headlined fundraisers for Florida politicians.

He’s set to return in the coming week for three fundraisers.

Florida offers 29 electoral votes, more than 10 percent of the 270 he needs to win a second term.

“The president can win the White House re-election without Florida, but it’s certainly easier if he does win Florida,” said Steve Schale, Obama’s Florida director in 2008.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 Democratic activists attended the state party fundraiser and rallied in support of Obama.

“In order to stop their extreme agenda, each and every one of us must give it all we’ve got. Tell your friends and neighbors about our priorities versus theirs, about our values versus their values. Work tirelessly every single day to re-elect one of our most courageous leaders in our nation’s history, President Barack Obama,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was speaking in her congressional district. “The future of our nation and our state are depending on us, so let’s go make history once again.”

Florida’s unemployment rate was 10.8 percent in April, or nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national average. The state has been hit harder by foreclosures and loss in property values than most of the country.

After Florida Democrats made gains in 2008, voters went quickly in the opposite direction in 2010. Republicans won the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and three other statewide offices, plus huge majorities in the Legislature.

Obama’s job performance rating in Florida has hovered between 44 percent and 47 percent, except for a slight increase to 51 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll after Osama bin Laden’s death.

The sluggish economic recovery is to blame.

“Things haven’t gotten better,” said Christian Ferry, a Republican who was Sen. John McCain’s deputy campaign manager in the 2008 presidential race. “And it certainly hasn’t gotten better in Florida. He’s got some big challenges to explain how it is that his economic messages, his economic plan is improving the situation in Florida for Floridians who are still struggling.”

For all the troubles, Republicans acknowledge it won’t be easy defeating Obama.

“The pendulum swings so fast now,” said Tallahassee-based GOP strategist David Johnson. “You can’t underestimate that guy. You do so at your peril.”

Plus, he added, “he’ll have the powers to come down here on that big blue plane, and that big blue plane excites people.”

Democrats hope that the GOP wave of 2010 is dissipating. They’re betting that voters will be turned off by the conservative agenda pushed by Republicans in Florida and Washington.

___

Online:

Florida Democratic Party: http://www.fladems.com

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

5 Responses to "Obama’s prospects in Sunshine State anything but sunny"

  1. woody188  June 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Obama’s Panama City Beach “Gulf” swim caused quite a stir because it was a staged photo op conducted by the White House to indicate that the water was safe after the BP debacle.

    Obama’s going to have a hard time winning in Gulf states that are dealing with the oil disaster that he has decided to ignore.

  2. rick  June 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Once they tell all the seniors the Republicans want to eliminate Medicare and SS they’ll do better.

  3. freecitizen  June 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Well, hell! I’m reminded of how worried I should be at whether the political prospects in florida of the current corporate mannequin in the white house might keep his job and whether to keep the dems or have the GOP bleed the country dry!?! Not a choice in my book!

    • Carl Nemo  June 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      A great summation of our dilemma freecitizen. Seemingly “We the People” of this nation as well as the earth have a grim future regardless of who wins in November 2012.

      Although I have my doubts for such, I’m hoping for a December 21, 2012 world catastrophic event that will destabilize this evil cabal of banking, corporate and political criminals that have seemingly managed to pirate our nation and the planet with schemes for their predatory “New World Order” all at the expense earth’s citizens. Fie on them all…! : |

      Carl Nemo **==

      • freecitizen  June 14, 2011 at 2:14 am

        I concur Carl,

        It’s unfortunate that the people don’t see the truth of the pond-scum we elect to office and who is truly represented by these same officials. And if they do, they seem to be willfully resistant to real change as they keep believing the same lies again and again and again.

        I’d really like to see this two-headed beast collapse! Then maybe we can get back to our Constitution!!

Comments are closed.