First of all, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my voting status (partly in my bio).
I was born in England but moved to Florida when I was 5 (I'm 25 now), so I have been in the Sunshine State for a while. However, it is only recently (in May) that my family and I (4 of us plus 1 that will be too late for 2012) became citizens of the United States (a moniker I hold with pride!).
I was a saddened that in 2008 I could not vote for Obama, but I get to rectify this in 2012 (and I suspect that a lot of the new US citizens in Florida mentioned below feel the same way)! So join me below the orange deformed football...
The Numbers: The latest numbers on early voting in Florida are showing a surge in Democratic turnout that is slowly cutting into the Republican lead (even though their voters are the supposedly the "early birds")!
This alone is great news, but as I was reading, I was contemplating yet ANOTHER reason why things may be looking great in Florida: new voters and in particular their political leanings!
Swearing in day: As I previously mentioned, I, along with my family, are now US citizens. I was "sworn in" in Orlando on a Friday at 9am with 96 other people in a ceremony. As is typical on these Fridays, there were two later ceremonies to be held later that day (so just under 300 people became citizens on that day alone).
The Ceremony: The ceremony included things like the mass reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, a brief history of the America, mass singing of the national anthem (and other patriotic songs), etc. They also acknowledged all of the nationalities of everyone in the room (which was composed of many South Americans/Asians/Europeans and a decent number of people of African decent, such as myself). However, where it got really interesting was when a recorded video of President Obama congratulating us on becoming citizens popped up on the screen.
The Obama Bump: The minute that happened, the entire room burst into applause/cheers. At first, I was surprised that in an election year, so many people in this room were publicly and enthusiastically Obama supporters (I'm not sure why I felt this way). I looked all around and all I could see was elation and smiles on people's faces (no enthusiasm gap here!). At the same time, I couldn't help but suddenly notice the lack of Caucasian ethnicities, at which point I remembered the general lack of GOP support in ethnic communities (info from Kossack community :)).
Voter Registration: Immediately after the ceremony, there were people waiting for us new citizens with voter registration forms! I registered for voting (as an independent, but I intend to switch to Democrat since Florida is a closed primary state) and additionally I could overhear other people deciding how to register, and every single one registered as a Democrat. Now, obviously this was a small sample, and it was only my personal experience. However, the Obama love was palpable.
Here's The Math: As my dad and I drove home, we were discussing how all this could effect our swing state of Florida. I'd easily wager ($10,000?) that no less than 75% of that room (full of new citizens) was pro-Obama. If that held true for the other ceremonies, then that could potentially mean 225 new Obama voters VS. 75 new Republican voters for one day in one city (out of 5 Floridrian cities that have USCIS offices certified to swear people in). There have been 22 Fridays between that day and Oct. 9 (voter registration deadline in Florida), which would now give you approximately 24,750 new Obama voters VS. 8,250 new Republican voters, again assuming the same margins/amounts hold (all this over a 22 week period).
Is this unscientific of me? You betchya! However...
More Evidence: Beyond the numbers above, what this experience illustrated to me was the growing disparity between GOP supporters and the demographics of America, which is (are?) become less and less Caucasian (which is the only ethnicity that Republicans carry these days VS Democrat's more all inclusive appeal). Also, let us not forget the overwhelming support that Obama has in foreign countries (even foreign countries with very small percentages of non-white people like Iceland favor Obama, so it's not really a matter of being Caucasian or not). As was true in 2008, Obama is still a favorite overseas. So should it really be THAT be surprising that people being sworn in as American citizens, who are obviously of foreign origin (and thus come from cultures more supportive of the president), support Obama by an overwhelming majority in these ceremonies? I think not!
My prediction: I predict here and now that the more new citizens America gets (whether Hispanic, African, Asian, Caucasian, etc... foreigners in general), the more the demographics of the American population will favor Democrats and (much more importantly) progressive ideas like universal healthcare, low cost secondary education, widely available clean/renewable energy, and a fair tax system that doesn't burden the middle class and working poor and puts more burden where it belongs: on the have-mores!
Will us brand new, left-leaning citizens help push Obama over the edge here in the Sunshine State? I think the possibility is there, but I cannot be 100% sure of this of course.
What I can tell you with 100% certainty is that my entire family (the four of us that became citizens this year), will be contributing to the efforts of delivering Orange/Osceola county (and thus the swing state of Florida) to the Democratic ticket this year! So, consider these 4 votes locked up for President Obama!