One of the critical firewalls for the Romney campaign in 2012 was the (apparently mistaken) belief that Florida voters had turned sour on President Obama. The state's demographics, including a surging older population seemed to seal the deal. In the RealClearPolitics final poll of polls before the election, Romney led by a small but significant 1.5%. In three of the six last polls, he led by as much as 6%, with one tied and Obama up in two polls by 1% and 2% respectively.
However, when the votes started pouring in, a different story was told. There was Karl Rove's insistence that Romney was going to win the state, even as FoxNews called it for Obama.
The final totals came in slowly and Obama seemed to creep up in the totals as the night went on.
When all was said and done, the numbers turned out to be:
Obama: 4,237,756 50.01%
Romney: 4,163,447 49.13%
Obama Victory Margin: 74,309
Obama's total margin of victory was 74,309. it was small but enough to avoid a recount, especially with the rest of the country clinching 270 electoral votes for him.
But was it a victory that was earned?
According to Department of Homeland Security statistics, in 2012 there were 1.3 million legal aliens in Florida. According to a Pew study, there were 950,000 illegal aliens in Florida. Add up the two to get a total of 2.25 million non-resident aliens.
According to a Migration Policy Institute study, 93% of aliens are above 18-- that is, voting age. This would make 2,095,000 non-resident aliens voting age.
According to the article published in the Electoral Studies journal based on Cooperative Congressional Election Study data, there is troubling news. They found thousands of immigrants that claim to have illegally voted in 2008 and 2012. In that study, in 2008 6.4% of non-residents registered and voted in the election.
Over 80% voted for Democrats.
If you take the sample of the non-resident aliens and multiply by the 6.4% average, that yields you 134,080 voters. Even if you give Romney a generous 20% of this vote (it is likely much lower, it adds the following to the total:
Obama Gain: 80,448
This gain was more than 6,000 more than Obama won the election in Florida by. Without the numbers, the totals without the minor candidates included would have been:
Romney: 4,136,631 50.03%
Obama: 4,130,512 49.97%
Romney Margin: 6,119
This is much more in line with the 49.7% that Romney was polling in the week before the election in that state.
In fact, if you take a look at the different poll averages, Obama seemed to have exceeded almost every one by a significant margin.
If you lump in a slightly larger Obama victory in Ohio and chalk it up to the same result, Romney won two of the key states.... it gives Romney an extra 49 electoral votes and a total of 256... just one or two states away from victory.