The way to the heart of a Florida voter is through the stomach. Bread and butter issues like taxes and the economy tend to work well. A three-way race scrambles the conventional dynamics in ways that even a molecular gastronomist would appreciate.
Do Democrat Kendrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio try to run up their base percentages, trying to keep Crist from building a coalition, or do they try to appeal to the broad middle — even though the middle doesn’t generally turn out in midterm elections?
Put yourself in the mind of Marco Rubio. You want to paint Crist and Meek as two peas in an Obama pod. But Obama isn’t unpopular in Florida. So Meek takes the challenge: you bet I’m an Obama Democrat, he says. If Meek gets 80 to 85% of the Democratic vote, that’s about 40% of the electorate — a floor of about 30-32% of the overall vote.
The independent vote will be fairly small — half of it is worth about 10 points of the statewide vote. As Steve Schale, Obama’s campaign manager in Florida, put it, “Even on its best day in November, NPA and minor party voters will probably only make up 18% of the electorate, so even if Crist gets 50% of the vote, he only nets 9 points of total statewide vote.” Continue reading here.