Florida a true razor-thin toss-up

Published On: Nov 07 2012 01:07:38 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 06 2012 07:55:33 PM EST
electoral-map

UPDATE: I'm doing live election work -- just go to the home page and on the right hand side click on "Cover It Live." Love to hear your perspective on the races.

In a close presidential race nationwide and the tightest state in the nation appears to beĀ  Florida.

Statistician and poll guru Nate Silver has Florida as a dead heat between Obama and Romney, a 50-50 tie. Another noted poll analyst, Princeton's Sam Wang, wrote today that trying to call Florida is a "hard case" with a 50-50 chance of requiring a recount to name the winner. He leans it very slightly to Romney. Both Silver and Wang have Obama as a clear favorite in the electoral college vote (Silver gives Romney only a nine percent chance of winning).

Ohio has gotten all the attention this time around, but Florida could be a spoiler for Romney. I spoke this afternoon with Democratic consultant Dan Lewis and Romney's Broward chair Dave DiPietro today about the race. Shocker: Each one thinks their guy is going to win.

DiPietro said the key for Romney locally is for him to get 35 percent of the vote in Broward. McCain got just 33 percent of the vote in Broward in 2008. "Thirty five is the magic number," said DiPietro.

Lewis said the key for Obama is that beats Romney by 250,000 net votes in Broward, a tall order considering he didn't net that many votes over McCain in 2008. But Lewis says Obama has a "massive ground game going on" in Broward that is unprecedented and he believes it can happen. "I believe Obama is going to take Florida," he said.

Lewis said the Dems are making unprecedented effort at handing out "slate cards" to encourage the Obama voters to vote on down the ballot. The best indicator of that will of course be the sheriff's race, with Republican Al Lamberti trying to hold onto his seat over Democrat Scott Israel despite the flood of blue voters hitting the polls. Lamberti pulled it off in 2008. Can he do it again?

By the way, the map above comes from Wang's Princeton Election Consortium website and it shows his projections and a map in which the states' size is altered to be commensurate with its number of electoral votes. Notice how Florida is the only light-colored state (again leaning slightly red to Romney) on his map.