ByÂ Adam C. Smith, Tampa Bay Times
SorryÂ Barack Obama, but the smartest political minds in Florida thinkÂ Mitt RomneyÂ will win the state.
Our latest exclusive Florida Insider Poll of more than 100 of the most experienced and savviest political hands in the state found that 73 percent expect Romney will win the Sunshine State, while 27 percent predict Obama. Sixty percent of Democrats expect Romney will win Florida’s 29 electoral votes and 95 percent of Republicans expect Romney to carry Florida.
What a difference a debate makes. Our last Florida Insider Poll, in August, found 95 percent of Democrats predicting Obama would win Florida, and 73 percent of Republicans betting on Romney winning.
“As of today Romney with the slight edge in Florida â€” but would not be at all surprised to see Obama driven by his field organization make a comeback in the Sunshine State. However, he has run basically a four-year-long re-election campaign down here, and if Romney holds him off in Florida, it will be well-earned and extremely impressive. Nationally, just so little margin for error for Romney he probably falls a couple states short of the White House,” said a Republican.
The good news for Obama? Six in 10 of our Florida Insiders still think Obama will win a second term â€” including 37 percent of our Republican participants and 92 percent of the Democrats.
“The momentum Romney built from the first debate seems to have stalled â€” nothing in any current polling data would indicate continued movement on his part,” said a Democrat. “That’s left the race virtually tied with (Obama) clinging to leads in Ohio, Iowa and Nevada, which seals the deal for the re-elect. Final pushes in Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia and Colorado either keep the margins razor thin or result in an Electoral College blowout.”
The Senate race is another matter entirely. A whopping 93 percent of our Insiders, including 98 percent of the Democrats and 88 percent of the Republicans, expect Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen.Â Bill NelsonÂ to beat U.S. Rep.Â Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers.
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