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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Will Florida Democrats Take a Dive in November?

Lurking in the background of the interminable dispute over the Democratic Party’s handling of outlaw primaries in MI and FL has been the fear that keeping these two states unrepresented at the convention in Denver could hurt the ultimate nominee’s ability to win either or both in November.
Up until now, this fear has been largely subjective and anecdotal. But earlier this week, three Florida media outlets published a poll suggesting that Florida Democrats are indeed feeling invested in the controversy, with a significant number of them currently inclined to punish the national party for its alleged disrespect.
More specifically, 14% of respondents say a failure to seat the Florida delegation would make them “much less likely” to support the presidential nominee in November, with another 10% saying it would make them somewhat less likely to do so. It’s also worth noting that only 28% of respondents blame the Republican governor and legislature for the mess, with 25% blaming the DNC and another 20% blaming the Florida Democratic Party.
There’s clearly some intraparty factionalism affecting these results, since Clinton supporters are roughly twice as likely to want the original primary results to stand as Obama supporters (Obama’s support, BTW, has gone up modestly since the primary).
This is all interesting, and perhaps questionable. Given the high odds of a polarizing general election, and the certainty that the Democratic nominee will campaign heavily in the Sunshine State, you’d have to figure some of these bruised feelings among Florida Democrats would abate by November.
But on the other hand, if the Clinton campaign continues to make its championship of MI and FL primary voters a centerpiece of the case for her nomination, and particularly if there is a Credentials Committees fight before or during the convention, then this issue is likely to remain front-and-center in Florida political coverage for quite some time. If HRC wins the nomination, this particular problem might largely go away. But if the nominee is Obama, and he wins after fighting tooth-and-nail against any seating of Florida delegates, then we should all hope someone in Obama’s political braintrust is already devoting some long-term thinking to what the candidate can do during the General Election to heal the wounds. A fly-around to key media markets in Florida, and perhaps Michigan, the day after the convention, might not be a bad idea. Maybe he could distribute some of those convention goodie-bags the unseated delegates will have missed.

One comment on “Will Florida Democrats Take a Dive in November?

  1. windshouter on

    Michigan and Florida are overwhelmingly likely to be seated at the convention in some form. The only way the current 0 delegate count can be sustained is if Senator Obama wins the nomination but has so little wiggle room he can’t afford any slippage in delegates at all. Considering the desire of superdelegates to have something like party unity, such a close race seems impossible by the time of the convention. It’s far more likely that if Senator Obama wins the nomination, some way to seat the states are found. I’ve heard that giving all non-Clinton votes to Obama and a 50 % penalty is about 30 delegates, and it’s likely the lead will be greater than that when all is said and done. If the lead is closer than that, I suspect Florida and Michigan are the least of the problems.

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