The latest statewide poll by The Miami Herald and its media partners shows a virtual tie in the presidential race in Florida. And it came as a shock to liberals and Democrats.
From the economy to foreign policy to Medicare questions, The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald/Tampa Bay Times survey released over the weekend showed President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney neck-and-neck on the issues or the Republican within striking distance.
Obama and Romney are basically tied, 48-47 percent overall.
Liberals couldnt understand how this could be true, considering all the self-inflicted wounds of Romney and his campaign.
But the data are the data. The poll reflected how people feel, not how partisans think they should feel. And the poll results remind us that there are other data out there all bad for an incumbent president that underpin the entire election in the nations biggest battleground state.
In short, its the economy, stupid. Plus a little immigration, foreign policy and healthcare.
• 330,000: the number of homes in foreclosure in Florida. Almost half of all homes are underwater, meaning the owner owes more on the mortgage than the homes value.
• 67.6 percent: this years second-quarter Florida homeownership rate, which hasnt been this low since about 1999, when 15 percent fewer people lived in the state.
• 8.8 percent: the states official unemployment rate, higher than the national average.
• 800,000: the number of people counted within the unemployment rate.
• 399: the number of callers on hold when a Herald reporter recently called to check the waiting time of the states customer service department for jobless claims.
• 9.8 percent: what the unemployment rate would be if all labor-force-eligible workers who havent found work in Florida were counted.
• 60.1 percent: the labor-force participation rate, which hasnt been this low since 1986.
• 29,000: the amount Floridas labor force shrank in July.
• 715,000: the number of jobs lost during the 18-month recession.
• 1.4 million: the number of undocumented immigrants deported under President Obama.
• 55-41: the Senate vote that killed the DREAM Act sought by advocates of limited immigration amnesty.
• 4: the number of foreign-service workers, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, killed at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
• 1979: the last time an ambassador of the United States was killed overseas, in Afghanistan.
• $716 billion: the estimated reductions in future increases commonly called cuts to Medicare under the presidents affordable healthcare act.
• $16 trillion: the current size of the national debt.
• 18 percent: the proportion of Floridians on Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor.
The parade of horribles goes on, and largely began under Republican leadership.
George W. Bush was president when the recession started and budget deficits ballooned amid unfunded wars, tax cuts and a Medicare prescription-drug benefit.
Republicans have controlled Florida for years. And Gov. Rick Scott and his fellow Republicans made it tougher for people to get jobless benefits. That increases 1) the level of frustration and/or 2) the likelihood people dont get their checks and spend them quickly.