Bill Nelson earned a resounding re-election victory on November 6th running ahead of President Barack Obama (who also won the state) in all 67 counties. However, unlike 2006 when Nelson crushed the clownish Katherine Harris and won all but nine counties, this go round his Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack actually won the majority of Florida counties. So while Barack Obama’s perceived policy positions and quite possibly his race had a negative impact on his performance in north Florida and other former “Dixiecrat” counties, Nelson isn’t a huge hit there either. Senator Nelson ran between 10-20 points ahead of the President in most rural counties, but still lost an overwhelming majority of the white vote and in the rural 2nd Congressional district counties. These numbers should close the book on any hope for a Dixiecrat revival or the type of north Florida strategy openly advocated by prominent party consultants over the past decade.
The swing towards Nelson was most significant in terms of raw vote and shifting a county from a loss to win in and around the I-4 corridor region (essentially from Ocala south to Sarasota) where Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee Polk, Seminole, Brevard, Volusia, Marion and Flagler all supported Senator Nelson while supporting Governor Romney for President. Outside this area the only counties to split their decisions were Okeechobee, Liberty, and Madison counties, all rural areas with a Democratic heritage. Liberty saw a massive percentage swing from Obama to Nelson (it is the smallest county in Florida by population) but in all three counties, a shift of only a few hundred votes changed the result. Madison County almost voted for Obama, who would have been the first Democratic Presidential nominee to carry the county since 1996.
Full results below. Tomorrow we will look at Congressional races and Obama performance in each seat.