Tony Snow reported last night that his contacts within the Kerry campaign indicated that they are conceeding Florida and will transfer resources to other battleground states.
This is surprising. Both candidates have practically lived in Florida over the past few months, and the overall polling data still shows a tight race. Kerry’s internal polling must reflect the CNN/USA Today/Time numbers which give Bush an eight point lead. I can’t think of any other reason for them to back out at this late date.
Indeed, Florida is not being spoken of much at all right now, as if the state somehow end up in Bush’s column without any fanfare. When CNN lists ‘battleground states’, they’re now omitting Florida. Fox is doing the same, though it still shows up in their graphical breakdown of the hotly contested states.
If Florida’s 27 electoral votes go to Bush, the President will be left with a 261-228 advantage, only nine electoral votes shy of the 270 needed for reelection. Senator Kerry will absolutely have to win Ohio plus three out of the four remaining toss-up states (Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconson) to pull off an electoral college victory. And even then, the one remaining state that Bush claims has to be either New Hampshire or New Mexico. If Bush wins Wisconson or Minnesota in addition to Florida, it’s all over.
Disclaimer: this assumes there are no other surprises on election day. And that there are no ‘faithless electors’ in the EC. And that any legal challenges are successfully navigated by the winner. Void where prohibited. Yadda yadda yadda.