Nate Cohn breaks down why.
With Romney all but assured to make enough gains to cover Obama's modest 2.8 point win [in 2008], Obama's path to victory requires him to compensate for losses by capitalizing on demographic changes, and particularly Florida's growing black and non-Cuban Hispanic populations. Voter registration numbers show that the white share of Florida's registered voters declined from 69 percent to 66.5 percent over the last four years. More than 150,000 more African Americans are registered than four years ago and the number of registered Hispanics increased by 300,000. The number of registered Hispanic Democrats increased by 131,000 compared to just 30,000 for Republicans. If Obama can turnout these newly registered voters, it could go quite a ways toward making up for losses elsewhere.To see why this matters so much, go play around a bit with the electoral map at 270 to win. President Obama could win the election if he wins Florida but loses Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire.
It's hardly apparent whether demographic changes will provide Obama the state, since it depends both on turnout among newly registered voters and the extent to which Romney can make gains among the rest of Florida's electorate. But polls conducted since October 15 show Romney ahead by a slight .9 point margin in the Sunshine State, making Florida one of the best picks for "closest state" on Election Day.
All of this is why I was fascinated to watch the quiet determination on display as early voting got underway in Florida this past weekend. It's obvious that things are still too close to call in the Sunshine State. But lets be honest...President Obama has a much better chance there than Romney does of taking Ohio. So why all the media focus on Ohio? Because its the only way for the media to continue pretending that the election is a "dead heat."