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Is Florida Still a Swing State?

I don’t know that I’d make too much of this Mason-Dixon poll in Florida which has very bad numbers for Democrats across the board — Mason-Dixon, although a strong pollster, has had a pretty significant red-leaning house effect for the past couple of cycles and there aren’t any recent trendlines to look at on the health care or Bill Nelson numbers.

But, it would stand to reason that Obama’s 2012 strategy may not be able to bank on the Sunshine State. Seniors don’t like the health care plan and vote in great numbers in Florida. And there are also a lot of Jewish voters in Florida who might not be pleased with Obama’s somewhat hawkish stance toward Israeli settlements. This isn’t rocket science.

Yes, completely different issues may be on the table by the time that ’12 rolls around (actuarially speaking, for instance, there’s a decent chance of a shock in U.S.-Cuba policy caused by Castro’s death). And it’s a little early to be worrying too much about the electoral math. But considering how tenuous Obama’s hold over Florida was in the first place — it wasn’t really a swing state in 2008 so much as a come-along-for-the-ride state — just a point or two that pushes it further to the right of the country as a whole could deprive it of the critical role it has played in past election cycles. Obama could perfectly easily still win it — but it seems doubtful that he’d win it before an Ohio or a Colorado or some other combination of states that has him well past the 270 mark.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.