LIVE UPDATES: Who's Winning in Florida?
As we await the results of the 2012 presidential election, get continuing updates on the standings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the state of Florida, with latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary.
UPDATE, 10:33p ET: Bret Baier just reported that President Obama has a slight lead in Florida with 87 percent of the vote in.
UPDATE, 9:15p ET: Bob Beckel just said on the Fox News Channel, that if the vote margin in Florida is within 1%, it triggers an automatic recount.
UPDATE, 8:45p ET: Below is the current standing in Florida.
UPDATE, 8:00p ET: As polls closed at 8p ET in the state of Florida, Fox News reported that the race was too close to call. Check out the current standing:
Update: Fox News correspondent Phil Keating was live from Florida this morning, where he interviewed a Hillsborough County voter who cast his ballot for Governor Mitt Romney. "The reason being is, I'm an energy voter," said Ben Novello. "I really believe
we need to uncork the energy reserves of America to build back our economy."
Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama: 47.9%
Mitt Romney: 49.1%
First Polls Open: 7:00a ET
Last Polls Close: 8:00p ET
2008 Election Results:
Obama - 4,282,074 votes - 51.03%
McCain - 4,045,624 votes - 48.22%
Other - 63,046 votes - 0.75%
Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is the largest prize among the nine battleground states where the campaign is being fought.
Florida might not be a must-win state for Obama. But all paths to a Republican victory in November must lead through the Sunshine State, analysts say. No Republican has won without Florida since Calvin Coolidge.
The Sunshine State is used to the limelight in presidential years and 2012 is no different. Florida has been a battleground for many presidential cycles, the contested 2000 election being the most memorable. George W. Bush won the state and thus the presidency by 537 votes. Even as far back as 1992, it was close. That year, the elder George Bush squeaked out a victory over Bill Clinton by about 100,000 votes.
Florida is more politically diverse than other Southern states, owing to its explosive population growth over the last 50 years.
Winning Florida is a particular challenge because of the state's geographic size and dispersed media markets. The campaigns have combined to spend more on TV ads in Florida than any other state and to visit the Interstate 4 corridor from Orlando to Tampa alone as much or more than they've visited other entire swing states.
The state has endured an unprecedented advertising blitz. In politics, Florida is the ultimate air war state, sprawling over eight media markets that suck up campaign dollars by the scores of millions.
Recent polling suggests a narrow overall advantage for Romney in a state battered by the housing crisis and where the unemployment rate exceeds the national average.
A high unemployment rate coupled with mass foreclosures works against the president's argument that he deserves a second term.
Florida ought to lean toward Romney considering Obama's narrow victory in 2008, a year when the heavily black and young turnout was in Obama's favor.