Book about Florida politics united effort of state professors

A new book dealing with the intricacies of state politics in Florida has just been released in time for the General Elections in November. The book is titled Florida Politics: Ten Media Markets, One Powerful State and was written and edited by faculty members at USF and other Florida colleges.

“The theme of (the book) is to look at Florida like candidates have to, one media market at a time,” said Susan MacManus, a USF political science professor and one the editors and writers of the book.

The book was released this month and is a collaborative effort by political science university professors in Florida. The writers include Susan MacManus from USF, Kevin Hill and Dario Moreno from Florida International University, James Witt from the University of West Florida, Matthew Corrigan from the University of North Florida, Richard Sheer from the University of Florida, David Niven from Florida Atlantic University and Aubrey Jewett from the University of Central Florida. The book was published through the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University. Deanna Hurst was the coordinator and manager of the project at FIG.

The book is the latest reference guide to state politics in Florida, dealing specifically with the 10 media markets available to political candidates in the state and explaining the characteristics of each in detail. It describes the general political make up of Florida according to demographic data gathered from national and local sources, including census data, election returns, political polls and the Florida division of elections. The chapters on the media markets cover each area in demographics, history, political makeup, voting patterns, registration patterns and contribution patterns since 1980.

“(The book) was designed to be an up-to-date primer for people interested in following the 2004 election cycle in Florida,” said MacManus, who is also a political analyst.

Nielson Media Research has 210 media markets throughout the United States and 10 of these markets are located in Florida. Each market is utilized by different candidates who wish to target different voting blocks throughout Florida by the use of political advertising on television.

“Obviously to campaign in a state like Florida, in a statewide race, buying television time is very important so you have to understand what parts of the state work for you as a candidate,” MacManus said.

One example, MacManus said, is a Democratic candidate who has to choose between advertising in the Tampa Bay media market and the Tallahassee media market. Since Tallahassee is solidly Democratic, the candidate should choose to advertise in the Tampa Bay area, which is a divided market, MacManus said.

“Candidates have limited time and money and obviously television is important in a state like ours, and knowing who lives in each of these media markets is absolutely critical to crafting out a winning strategy to carry Florida,” MacManus said.

MacManus said the book is not just for newcomers to politics. National media outlets as well as universities across the country will also be using the book as a guide to politics in Florida.

“It’s going to be very useful to a lot of different kinds of people, whether it’s scholars and used in the classroom, or used by the candidates and their political parties,” said MacManus.