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Saturday, September 13, 2008
Obama Losing Florida and Ohio

Despite spending oodles of money on the former:

Obama can still win Florida despite the polling gains McCain has made since naming Sarah Palin his running mate, and there is no sign Obama is pulling back in Florida yet. Far from it. Obama allies say he has about 350 paid staffers in the state and about 50 field offices, including in places not known as fertile ground for Democrats, such as Sun City Center, Lake City and Sebring.

But for all the attention to Florida from the Obama campaign, there's little tangible evidence it's paying off.

He is farther behind in the state than John Kerry was at this point in 2004, even though McCain began buying Florida TV ads only last week. By this time in 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign had spent $13-million on Florida TV. In the rolling average of Florida polls compiled by the Web site, Obama has never taken the lead over McCain in Florida, and the latest average shows him behind by 5 percentage points. They were tied in early August.

In Ohio, former netroots darling Paul Hackett sounds the alarm:

The Obama campaign has no organized presence in Southern Ohio; southern Ohio defined as south of Interstate 70 which runs east west and loosely divides the state in half both geographically and culturally. The Obama campaign’s focus of effort is evident in the traditionally Democratic strongholds of northeast Ohio, the Cleveland area and Mahoning Valley, in addition to Franklin County/Columbus in the center of the state.

Certainly these are densely populated areas with huge numbers of Democratic constituents, however, they voted for Clinton in the primary, and even if they have increased the registered democrats in these areas the state still can not be won without a majority of the independent hardscrabble rural voter spread throughout southern Ohio from West Virginia to Indiana. Focusing on Columbus, Cleveland, and Dayton is like campaigning in California; it feels good but we’ve already won there.

Remember, no candidate yet has been able to win without a victory in two of three states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. And things are tight in the Keystone State, with Obama showing only a 2-3 point lead.
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