US President Barack Obama has won the presidential vote in Florida – widening his electoral victory margin over Republican rival, Mitt Romney. The vote count in the only state which had not declared a result from last Tuesday’s election gave Obama 50% to Mr Romney’s 49.1%, according to Florida state department figures. Obama has now won 332 Electoral College votes – Romney has 206. The slow count brought back memories of the bitterly contested recount in 2000.The Sunshine State’s election sparked a crisis in that year’s Bush-Gore election, eventually leading to a Supreme Court ruling that installed George W Bush in the White House
According to the BBC, the figures released by the Florida state department suggest Obama won 4,236,032 votes out of a total of 8,471,095 cast – 73,858 more than Romney and well above the 0.5% difference which would have triggered an automatic recount.
The result will not come as a surprise to either President Obama or Governor Romney – it has been assumed that the president would win since late on Tuesday, says the BBC’s Zoe Conway in Washington.
However, it further strengthens Obama’s negotiating position when it comes to doing deals with Republicans in Congress. And because there are so many Latino voters in the state, the result will also reinforce the message that Republicans need to do more to win the Hispanic vote.
The state’s 29 electoral votes have proved decisive in the past and were expected to be important this year. On Election Day though, it was another heavily contested battleground state, Ohio, which put Obama over the top.
Obama’s narrow victory in Florida means he has swept all eight of the states CNN, along with other media outlets, rated as “toss-ups,” where the vote was within reach of either candidate.
Heading into Election Day, polls had showed a particularly tight race in Florida, a state that is no stranger to close presidential races. Since 2000, the contest has never been decided by more than 5 percentage points. Obama won Florida in 2008 by 3 percentage points.
Obama outspent Romney in television advertising in the state, according to CNN consultant Kantar Media/CMAG, although Romney visited the state more. Obama spent $69.5 million on ads in Florida to Romney’s $42 million. Romney made 33 visits to the state, compared to Obama’s 24.