Mitt Romney resumed campaigning Wednesday in Florida. Romney had campaign stops in Tampa and Coral Gables. Jeb Bush was at Romney’s side, but noticeably absent was Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott. The last thing Romney needs is to be linked to Scott. The Miami-Herald reports that Scott and Romney have made only one joint appearance since Romney received the nomination.
The Obama campaign released an ad in Florida citing Scott’s connection to a hospital chain that paid a record fine for Medicare fraud and included the claim that Romney “would end Medicare as we know it.” The Sunshine State is a critical swing state, and with its 29 electoral votes is on the critical path to the 270 electoral votes needed by Romney to win the election. Without Florida, Romney has virtually no chance of winning the election.
In the latest CBS Times/New York Times/Quinnipiac University, Obama has a one point lead in Florida. The Orlando-Sentinel noted that Quinnipiac had not conducted a poll in Florida since September. ABC News reports that a CNN/Opinion Research survey show Romney up by a slim one-point lead, 50%-49% among likely voters. The Real Clear Politics average of polls show an average one-point lead for Romney, a statistical tie. Nate Silver of The New York Times shows Romney with a .6% lead, again, essentially a tie.
As expected the Hispanic vote is playing a key role in Florida. The latest Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely Hispanic Florida voters has Obama clinging to a narrow 51%-47% lead over Romney. Obama’s narrow lead among the Hispanic vote in Florida is in stark contrast to his 40 point lead over Romney nationally among Hispanic voters. The Miami Herald explained that the difference is the Cuban population in Florida. Cubans in Florida are reliable Republicans and they pick up the phone and participate in surveys said the paper. Eduardo Gamarra, an FIU professor of Latin American studies who conducted the poll with his political research firm, the Newlink Group said, “Cuban-American voters [in Florida] want to be heard.”
During the campaign stop in Tampa, Romney once again refused to address his position on FEMA. In stark contrast to the praise the administration received from New Jersey Governor and Romney surrogate Chris Christie, Romney refused to give the Obama administration any praise for their response to Sandy. Rather, according to The Guardian, Romney allowed surrogate Jeb Bush to speak on his behalf. The younger brother to the former president and the former Governor of Florida said “from his experience, “local level and state level” is better at handling the response than FEMA.” Romney has steadfastly refused to address his controversial position on FEMA which calls for the elimination of the agency. In an all too familiar pattern Romney provided no detail on a plan he has endorsed and instead went on to pander to the crowd. The Guardian said, Romney “played to the crowd in a part of the country where Hispanic voters could decide the issue with a promise to boost trade with Latin America.”