Chris Cillizza examines the conventional wisdom that Florida is a lock for Romney, despite the fact that the race appears far from over. CNN polling in Florida showed Romney with 50 percent to 49 percent for President Obama.
So, why do people seem to believe Florida, along with Virginia, are Romney’s for the taking?
A few reasons:
1) Both states have historic voting patterns that seem to favor Republicans. In Virginia, Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the Commonwealth since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In Florida, Obama’s win in 2008 was the first for a Democrat in more than a decade — although the 2000 election in the Sunshine State, was, um, pretty close.
2) Momentum matters in politics — particularly at the end of races — and the Romney trend line has moved up far faster than the Obama one in each state over the past month. But, as is the case nationally, the available data in both Virginia and Florida suggest that Romney’s rapid upward movement has slowed (or stopped entirely) over the past week to 10 days.
To be clear, Romney very well could win Florida and Virginia. But, to assume that both states should already be counted in his total misses not only the reality of the numbers cited above but the most basic political smell test: Where is the candidate spending his last days on the trail? Romney is headed to Florida tomorrow for a three-city swing andwill also make a stop in Virginia on Thursday — not trips a candidate takes five days before the election in states that are already safely on his side.