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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Obama, Romney Weak Among Conservative Rural White Voters

Florida, ah Florida. My home state and the most representative microcosm of Americas population seems to have done it again. The field for President has been by Florida essentially narrowed to two serious national Presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and John McCain who baring slip ups will coast to their party's nominations. It's not about the final tally as much as it is about the specific county returns that prove a failure to compete in rural areas for two big city Northern candidates who have either a racial or religious background which for many Americans is out of the political mainstream- Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Let me preface this discussion by saying I would prefer Obama to be the nominee of my party, the Democrats. I have as many of my writings have indicated for years now a disdain for the entire Clinton dynasty and the dis-enlightenment it has provided the Democratic Party. With my first choice, John Edwards out of the race, Obama is an inspirational and potentially transformational figure. However the continued dis-enlightenment triggered by the Clinton machine upon the Democratic Party seems to have made its impact in North Florida.

A careful examination of the most conservative rural North Florida Counties with the smallest African-American percentage indicates Barack Obama was a distant 3rd choice in most places behind Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. This trend was bucked by two large North Florida Counties with large student populations- Alachua and the University of Florida where Obama won narrowly and Leon and Florida State University where Obama won in a romp. (of the two major Florida universities, FSU tends to have the more liberal student body so the discrepancy there is not surprising.) But throughout the rest of the panhandle, where the African American population is under 30% Obama was smashed. In Holmes County for instance, where Richard Nixon got 97% of the votes against George McGovern in 1972, Obama received 10% of the vote as opposed to 49& for John Edwards and 30% for Hillary Clinton.

On the Republican side the very same Holmes County placed Mitt Romney in third at 20% behind Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Jackson County is another example of Romney finishing a distant 3rd in a North Florida County. Romney's strength in Florida tended to come from economic well to do areas: Collier and Lee Counties as well as specific upper income precincts in Metropolitan Jacksonville and Orlando. Romeny carried Seminole County outside Orlando which is perhaps the most economically conservative county in the state, and whose demographics are made up largely of refugees from high tax states like Romney's own Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan.

So essentially what we have coming out of Florida is two niche campaigns with major financial and political backing: Obama and Romney, and two national campaigns in Clinton and McCain. Obviously both McCain and Bill Clinton have legendary tempers so while the game appears to be over the fat lady is not singing just yet. A slip up could occur under the rigors of the campaign for either front running camp and then a nominee who clearly will have to write off large portions of the electorate could emerge for either party.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.