Sunday, March 15, 2009

Future Trend of Central Florida

The following is a post from fellow Kossack oceanstar17:

First of all I define Greater Orlando as including Lake, Osceola, Orange and Seminole Counties. In addition, because I really can't fit them in any other region, I will also include Brevard, and Indian River counties. In addition it will also include Volusia and Flager counties because all these areas are also considered part of the larger US Census Bureau Combined Statistical Area for the region.

Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole are part of the greater Metropolitan area. Flagler and Volusia include Daytona Beach, FL. Brevard and Indian River counties are part of the Space Coast of FL, where Cape Canaveral is.

The first factor to analyze is the population change over the decade for each of the counties:

Brevard: 536,161 (2007); 476,230 (2000); +59,931; 12.58% increase
Flagler: 88,397 (2007); 49,832 (2000); +38,565; 77.39% increase
Indian River: 131,837 (2007); 112,947 (2000); +18,890; 16.72% increase
Lake: 301,059 (2007); 210,528 (2000); +90,531; 43.00% increase
Orange: 1,066,113 (2007); 896,344 (2000); +169,769; 18.94% increase
Osceola: 255,815 (2007); 172,493 (2000); +83,322; 48.30% increase
Seminole: 409,509 (2007); 365,196 (2000): +44,313; 12.13% increase
Volusia: 500,413 (2007); 443,343 (2000); +57,070; 12.87% increase

Total Population 2000: 2,726,913
Total Population 2007: 3,289,304
Total Population Increase: 562,391
Total Percentage Increase: 20.62%

Overall, looking at these data, it's clear that this area is growing, although the 2008 economic recession might have slowed rate. Of these counties Flagler and Osceola have grown the most, but Orange County (home to Orlando) has added the most people. Overall this area has grown by more than 21% since 2000, indicating that it is likely to play a larger role in statewide elections. So far, of the FL regions that I have looked at (see links in the top part of the post), this area has added the most people.

Before I continue here is some background on the region. Central FL was one of the first parts of the state to trend toward the GOP. Between 1948 and 1996 I don't think that a Democrat carried Orange County, FL. The first Democrat to win it was Gore in 2000. Along with the Space coast area these areas trended to the Republicans starting in the 1950s. They epitomized the Sunbelt Republican trend. Even in 1964, when LBJ carried FL by a 3% margin, this area supported Goldwater. LBJ carried FL by winning Dade County and the Tampa area. Carter didn't carry the area either in 1976, prevailing by winning the Dixiecrat areas that are today in FL-2 and FL-4. So this area used to be heavily Republican.

Its Congressional district spread over FL-3, FL-5, FL-6, FL-7, FL-8, FL-12,, FL-15
, and FL-24. Along with SE FL it seems this is one of the most gerrymandered parts of the states. Districts that have more in common with the Jacksonville and Tampa area reach into the area. The only Democrats who represent districts here are Corrine Brown, Allan Grayson, and Suzanne Kosmas. The rest of the districts all belong to the GOP, largely due to the fact that Brown's district takes in almost every minority precinct from Jacksonville to Orlando. If FL had a more equitable the area would probably send at least one other Democrat to Congress and have maybe another marginal district.

Now let's look at the results between 2004 and 2008 in each of these counties:

Brevard: M: 157,589; O: 127,620; (GOP +29969)
B: 153,068; K:110,309; (GOP +42759)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -12790

Flagler: M: 23,951; O: 24,726; (GOP -775)
B: 19,633; K: 18,578 (GOP + 1055)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -1830

Indian River: M: 40,176; O: 29,710; (GOP +10466)
B: 36,938; K: 23,956 (GOP +12982)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -2516

Lake: M: 82,802; O: 62,948; (GOP +19854)
B: 74,389; K: 48,221 (GOP +26168)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -6314

Orange: M: 186,832; O: 273,008 (GOP -86176)
B: 193,354; K: 192,539 (GOP -815)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -86991

Osceola: M: 40,086; O: 59,962 (GOP -19876)
B: 43,117; K: 38,633 (GOP +4484)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -24360

Seminole: M: 105,070; O: 99,355 (GOP +5715)
B: 108,172; O: 76,971 (GOP +31201)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -25486

Volusia: M: 113,938; O: 127,795 (GOP -13857)
B: 111,924; K: 115,519 (GOP -3595)
GOP vote loss between 2004 and 2008: -10262

Total in Region for McCain: 750,444
Total in Region for Obama: 805,124
Difference: GOP -54680

Total in Region for Bush: 740,595
Total in Regionfor Kerry: 624,726
Difference: GOP +115869

Total GOP loss in region between 2004 and 2008: -170549

Overall, though, Central FL trended heavily against the GOP in 2008. What is very interesting here is that Obama gained in the fastest growing counties significantly. What is even worse for the GOP is that Obama significantly ran ahead of Kerry in Orange County. Obama's 86,176 vote margin was crushing. Obama carried Orange with around 59% of the vote! This is a significant swing when Bush the First carried more than 60% of the county's votes in 2008. It is also ominous for the GOP that Obama significantly narrowed the GOP advantage in Seminmole County. Even in heavily Republican Lake County the GOP advantaged significantly narrowed.

The Space Coast seems to be still Republican leaning, though Obama did improve in Brevard County. Indian River County seemed to remain solidly Republican. Democratic prospects there don't seem as bright as they do in the Orlando area.

The Daytona Beach and Flagler Area seem like they are trending toward the Democrats. What is great news for the Democrats is that Flagler and Volusia Counties, with their 77% and 13% growth rates, are adding a significant number of new voters every cycle. If these newcomers continue to trend Democratic then that will help statewide race prospects.

While northern Florida remains a GOP stronghold, even when you factor in Obama's improvement in Duval County and parts of Pensacola, central FL is pulling away from the Republicans. It seems like Obama improved significant in this part of the I-4 corridor. Going forward the Democrats should aggressively work to promote the Party's Brand in Flagler, Volusia, Orange, and Seminole counties.

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