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CNN has a new Florida poll of the presidential race that has some serious bad news for Republicans everywhere.

It's not just the toplines, which are bad enough:

Likely voters
Obama 50
Romney 46

Registered voters
Obama 51
Romney 42

Obviously Republicans don't want to see Pres. Barack Obama in the lead, and certainly not with 50 percent of the vote. But what's really gotta worry GOP strategists is this:

50 and older
Obama 47
Romney 49

Why are those numbers a problem for the GOP, given that they lead Obama with older voters? Because Republicans need to crush it with seniors in order to be competitive and to counterbalance expected losses among younger voters.

In 2008, John McCain beat Obama in Florida among voters older than 65 by a 53-45 margin. Obama won voters 50-64 by a 10-point margin, 54-44. Add them up, and Obama won the 50+ cohort by a couple of points.

Two years later, however, seniors flocked to the GOP. In Florida, Republican Rick Scott won with 51 percent of the senior vote to 47 percent for his Democratic opposition. Nationally, voters over the age of 50 gave Republicans an even more dramatic 55-43 victory over Democrats. Thanks to depressed turnout among younger voters, those older voters fueled the GOP's landslide victories in 2010.

If Republicans want to win big, they need to maintain that edge among seniors, both in Florida and nationally. This latest CNN poll shows that they are falling short of their 2010 mark, and are barely overperforming their 2008 numbers when Obama won the state by three points. Throw in demographic shift (older anti-Obama voters have died off, younger pro-Obama voters are replacing them, and the share of the white vote is decreasing), and it's not enough to close the gap to Obama.

In other words, as new polling comes out, keep an eye on those senior numbers. They will go a long way toward telling us just how bad a year Republicans are about to have.

Thanks, Paul Ryan!

4:08 PM PT: From khyber900 in the comments:

In this poll, Romney was up +6 among the 65+

crowd among likely voters. That suggests that Obama is striking pay dirt with the 50-64 crowd just as he is in PA and is causing some seniors to think twice about throwing their lot in with the GOP. I do not believe the GOP can sustain a 2 month assault on their voucher program.  Obama can pick this issue apart and make a play for the 50-64 vote without losing anything from the other Obama favorable demographic groups.
Exactly.

Originally posted to kos on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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