Florida in Play: Razor-Thin Margin Favoring a Repeat for Obama

Photograph by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images

President Barack Obama supporter and volunteer Helen Briley on Nov. 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Updated at 11 pm EST

With about eight million votes counted  in Florida — almost all the vote at 11 pm EST — President Barack Obama held about a half-percentage point edge over Republican Mitt Romney.

If it held, the president would repeat his 2008 victory in the biggest of all swing states.

Obama was winning in all the right places:

–Obama was leading Romney by more than 70,000 votes in Orlando’s Orange County — the president won it by nearly 90,000 in 2008.

– Obama was leading Romney by more than 30,000 votes in Tampa’s Hillsborough County — Obama won it by nearly 40,000 in 2008.

These are bellwether counties in the Sunshine State. Hillsborough has voted the way Florida has since the 1960s. Orange once voted Republican, but had leaned Democratic only  narrowly until Obama’s strong win there in 2008.

And in the biggest of Democratic-leaning counties, Miami-Dade County, which is more than 65 percent Hispanic, Obama’s 62.2 percent share of the vote was the best showing by a Democrat since President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

Obama won the state by 2.8 percent in 2008.

If the president were to carry it again tonight, the margin would be much thinner.

The same would hold true for Romney.

And can you spell recount?

Florida election law demands  a recount when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent.

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