THE PLANK OCTOBER 31, 2008
Florida is known as "The Sunshine State," but it is one of the few states where rain could actually make a difference this Tuesday. The study we referred to the other day argues that rain in Florida helped tip the 2000 election, and this Monday ABC News said, "Something as simple as rainy weather in some Florida counties may have played a critical role in determining the outcome of a presidential election."
So with Obama up by only 3.5 in Florida, should we be concerned about Tuesday's forecast?
One of the critical counties in Florida that Obama may need to clinch the state is Hillsborough County, which is in the central western part of the state where Tampa is located, and with an estimated population 1,117,060. On October 24, McCain trailed Obama in the county by just two points (a four-point improvement for the Oct. 12 poll there, indicating that the momentum there is moving towards McCain). On Tuesday, there is only a 20 percent chance of rain in Tampa, and the average precipitation for November in Tampa is 1.62 inches. While there is no certainty that it will rain, even if it does rain an inch, McCain could easily erase his current margin, particularly if the momentum is going his way already.
Yesterday, McCain was focusing his efforts on Miami-Dade County, where the Obama's camp efforts have helped to register 94,000 new Democrats--as opposed to 21,000 new Republicans. Al Cardenas, the state's former GOP chairman and advisor to the McCain campaign, confirmed to the Los Angeles Times the county's importance and acknowledged that McCain will probably lose the county, but is focusing on keeping the gap close: "We're not going to win in Dade," Cardenas said. "The question is whether we lose it by 25,000 or 75,000. That's the key to winning the state."
In Miami-Dade, which may be even more critical than Hillsborough, it's supposed to be 82 degrees and partly cloudy. So any votes gained in Hillsborough may be counteracted by a higher voter turnout in Miami-Dade. Obama should hope the state lives up to its nickname.
Also be sure to check out PA's forecast for Tuesday here.