While Republicans dominate the political spotlight in Florida, President Obama’s re-election campaign has been quietly but aggressively mobilizing operations for a general election fight over the state’s 29 electoral votes.
Obama now has 11 campaign field offices open across the Sunshine State — more than any GOP presidential candidate — including two new outposts that flung open their doors in Boca Raton and St. Petersburg Sunday.
On State of the Union night, Obama’s Floridian supporters huddled at 194 “watch parties” that doubled as phone banks and volunteer recruitment centers, a campaign official said.
Obama volunteers have also held more than 2,900 organizing events since April and will conclude a “week of action” today, Primary Day.
They’ve also placed an estimated 500,000 phone calls and held more than 5,400 face-to-face meetings with prospective voters, per the official.
Obama made Florida one of his first official trips out of Washington in the new year, visiting Disney World earlier this month. First lady Michelle Obama attended fundraisers in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota last week.
The visits and expanding grassroots organizing effort underscore the importance of the state to Obama’s re-election bid and the challenges he faces in keeping Florida blue in November.
Fifty-four percent of registered Florida voters disapprove of Obama, well above the national average, while 52 percent say he does not deserve a second term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll from Jan. 11.
In a hypothetical match-up with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, Obama is locked in a statistical dead heat, trailing the former Massachusetts governor 43 to 46 percent. (The poll has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.)