Comparing Kerry in 2004 vs Obama in 2008

Some of our readers have asked since our comparison of county votes a few weeks ago about the Kerry 2004 numbers, which we presume will be the low water mark for Democrats in the current era of Presidential Elections. (which began in 1992 when suburban voters moved in mass towards Bill Clinton after supporting GOP candidates in every election since 1968) How do the Kerry numbers compare with Obama’s numbers and were their actually areas where Obama lost support that Kerry had?

While Obama performed better than Kerry in every single county with over 300,000 residents in the state and every county but two between 90,000 and 300,000, he did suffer sharp declines in several rural north Florida counties.

Obama’s biggest gains over Kerry came in he three Metropolitan Orlando counties and in Hillsborough, where turnout increased in Tampa and Obama cut into McCain’s margins in growing Riverview, and Brandon while breaking even or carrying most precincts in Temple Terrace, Carrolwood and Lutz.

The biggest decline for Obama from Kerry’s vote came in northern Florida rural counties where race may have very well have been a factor in the voting. Since John Kerry was perceived as a national liberal Democrat his numbers should represent the low water mark for any Democratic Presidential nominee in the Panhandle and Big Bend counties. While Kerry ran behind Obama in the military oriented west Florida counties (Escambia, Santa Rosa Okalossa and Walton) he ran well ahead of Obama in counties like Calhoun, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Franklin, indicating at some level a reluctance of otherwise reliable Democratic voters to cast a ballot for Obama. Recall that in our comparison of Obama’s number to Alex Sink’s performance these were the counties where Sink’s performance in many cases  reflected a double digit percentage gain over Obama’s. Much like Sink, Kerry performed worse than Obama in every single urban and suburban county in the state.

Below is the county by county breakdown.

County Kerry Bush Obama McCain D % swing County Size
Alachua 62 38 61 39 -1 Medium
Baker 22 78 21 79 -1 Small
Bay 29 71 30 70 1 Medium
Bradford 30 70 30 70 0 Small
Brevard 42 58 45 55 3 Large
Broward 65 35 68 32 3 Metropolitan
Calhoun 37 63 30 70 -7 Small
Charlotte 43 57 47 53 4 Medium
Citrus 44 56 42 58 -2 Medium
Clay 23 77 29 71 6 Medium
Collier 34 66 39 61 5 Medium
Columbia 33 67 33 67 0 Small
Desoto 42 58 44 56 2 Small
Dixie 32 68 27 73 -5 Small
Duval 42 58 49 51 7 Metropolitan
Escambia 34 66 41 59 7 Medium
Flagler 52 48 52 48 0 Medium
Franklin 41 59 36 64 -5 Small
Gadsden 70 30 70 30 0 Small
Gilchrist 32 68 26 74 -6 Small
Glades 42 58 42 58 0 Small
Gulf 33 67 30 70 -3 Small
Hamilton 45 55 43 57 -2 Small
Hardee 29 71 35 65 6 Small
Hendry 41 59 47 53 6 Small
Hernando 47 53 49 51 2 Medium
Highlands 37 63 41 59 4 Medium
Hillsborough 46 54 54 46 8 Metropolitan
Holmes 22 78 17 83 -5 Small
Indian River 39 61 43 57 4 Medium
Jackson 38 62 36 64 -2 Small
Jefferson 56 44 52 48 -4 Small
Lafayette 27 73 20 80 -7 Small
Lake 39 61 43 57 4 Medium
Lee 39 61 45 55 6 Large
Leon 62 38 62 38 0 Medium
Levy 37 63 36 64 -1 Small
Liberty 37 63 28 72 -9 Small
Madison 49 51 49 51 0 Small
Manatee 43 57 47 53 4 Medium
Marion 41 59 45 55 4 Medium
Martin 42 58 44 56 2 Medium
Miami-Dade 53 47 58 42 5 Metropolitan
Monroe 51 49 52 48 1 Small
Nassau 25 75 28 72 3 Small
Okaloosa 22 78 28 72 6 Medium
Okeechobee 43 57 40 60 -3 Small
Orange 50 50 60 40 10 Metropolitan
Osceola 48 52 60 40 12 Medium
Palm Beach 60 40 62 38 2 Metropolitan
Pasco 45 55 48 52 3 Large
Pinellas 50 50 55 45 5 Metropolitan
Polk 41 59 47 53 6 Large
Putnam 41 59 41 59 0 Small
Santa Rosa 23 77 26 74 3 Medium
Sarasota 45 55 50 50 5 Medium
Seminole 41 59 49 51 8 Medium
St. Johns 32 68 34 66 2 Medium
St. Lucie 52 48 57 43 5 Medium
Sumter 37 63 36 64 -1 Medium
Suwannee 31 69 28 72 -3 Small
Taylor 35 65 30 70 -5 Small
Union 28 72 25 75 -3 Small
Volusia 52 48 53 47 1 Large
Wakulla 42 58 37 63 -5 Small
Walton 25 75 26 74 1 Small
Washington 28 72 25 75 -3 Small
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6 thoughts on “Comparing Kerry in 2004 vs Obama in 2008

  1. Not a surprise. I have lived in NOrth Florida and Central Florida, and born in South Florida. The differences are due to race. I have heard people state that. The “race card” remark is one people use to try to get over their own fears of minorities. It helps them cope with their own problem.

  2. I just got done comparing the numbers of Bill Nelson in 2006 to Obama’s numbers in 2008 to see how much swing each district is able to go up to. If you remember, Nelson ran against Harris and won almost every county. I can’t imagine more of a “high water mark” than that, and can show what a conservative democrat against a bad contender is able to do if everything lines up perfectly for them. I’d be interested in seeing you guys view of this.

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