You can underline the phrase "toss up" when describing the presidential race in Florida as President Obama prepares to return to the Sunshine State for a two-day campaign swing Thursday. Obama gets 46-percent to 45-percent for Republican challenger Mitt Romney among Florida voters according to a new Mason-Dixon survey. Pollster Brad Coker says it's no surprise that Obama's trip includes a stop in Orlando.
"North Florida goes very strong for Romney," Coker says. "Southeast Florida goes very strong for Obama. The Southwest coast of Florida also a strong Romney area."
But the two men are essentially tied along the vital I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay across through Orlando and onward to the Atlantic Coast and that's probably where the election will be won or lost.
"The predictable gender gap is there," Coker adds. "Romney is up by 14 points among men. Obama is up by 14 percent among women. Younger voters are going for Obama, older voters are going for Romney."
In Florida's closely watched U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson leads likely Republican nominee-- Congressman Connie Mack-- by 47-percent to 42-percent. Mack's father held the seat before Nelson.
President Obama will be in Jacksonville and West Palm Beach Thursday, then Fort Myers and Orlando on Friday.