Organizing Florida

While polls are rather here-and-there on Florida (it seems like McCain either has about a 4% or Obama has a 2% lead, based on the pollster), the ground game is going firmly to the Democrats. The Orlando Sentinel has a report yesterday about the state’s voter registration figures:

John McCain‘s Florida problems may be growing: Democratic voters have out-registered Republicans by a nearly 7-to-1 margin since January.

State totals show Democrats gained a net of 106,508 voters from January through May, compared with 16,686 for the GOP — a shift that could muddle any McCain campaign math that banks on a Florida win to gain the White House.

New Democratic registration outnumbered Republicans in six Central Florida counties — even heavily Republican Seminole County.

That’s the second best Florida related news the Democrat have gotten all week (the best, of course, being John McCain calling social security a “disgrace”). I’m one to be skeptical of Florida’s true swing state cred (they did go to Bush in 1992 after all), and I tend to think that we overstate its value because of our memories of 2000, but even I haven’t particularly thought that McCain’s numbers from May and June in the state could hold all the way into November. They’re simply too heavy on support from seniors. And yes, Bush carried a small majority of senior voters in 2004, but social security hadn’t come up as a major issue yet, and once it did, said support evaporated. John McCain supported the privatization plan, and even Bush never called the fundamentals of social security a “disgrace.”

I don’t think Florida is all that important, on the sliding scale I would rank states, in order, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, and then Florida somewhere in the 3-5% range, but I do think we’ll see it come back into line with where we expect it to, which is why McCain’s VP search begins and ends with Charlie Crist.