Winning Florida Important to Candidates


Florida’s population, diversity and electoral votes make it an important prize for politicians.



By Amy Mariani

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2012) – The size and the diversity of Florida’s population makes its Jan. 31 primary an important target for presidential hopefuls.


“The I-4 corridor is considered the highway to heaven for politics,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political science professor and national political expert. “Forty-three percent of all registered voters live in the Tampa Bay media market or the Orlando media market.”


Politicians use media markets to determine where they spend their money, MacManus said. A media market is an area that receives the same television and radio stations. The bigger the media market, the more people will see the political messages. Tampa Bay is the largest media market in Florida and 14th in the nation. There are 1,788,240 television homes, according to Nielsen Media Research.


MacManus also said Florida’s diversity closely mirrors the nation on many levels, including age, race, and class.


The upcoming Florida Republican Presidential Debate at USF could determine who wins the Jan. 31 Republican primary in Florida.


“Every single exit or entrance poll that’s been done so far in the other states that have already held their primaries or caucuses show that a large portion of the voters say that the debates made a difference in who they selected,” MacManus said.


Amy Mariani can be reached at 813-974-0331.