Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney say they are the agent of recovery needed to put the U.S. economy on a faster track. Obama says he needs more time. Romney says time is up. Mounds of campaign literature tell conflicting stories on exactly what each will do if elected on Nov. 6. Toss in the volatile Middle East and economic troubles on the European continent, and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to our economy after the election. Here’s a snapshot of what each has done, and might do, going forward.
Make no mistake: Orange County is Republican country. It is a stronghold for the Grand Old Party, with a majority of county voters casting ballots for Republican presidential candidates in 18 straight national elections.
Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election in 1936 have Democrats danced as victors in this county. It is one of the longest winning streaks in America for any political party, stretching over a half century and making this 725-square-mile community a must-stop for any Republican seeking the White House. Mitt Romney, the party’s candidate at the top of the ticket in November, has been to this Red County four times since March to shake the donor tree, and each time he has left flush with large caches of contributions. His most recent trip in late September was his largest, with 1,700 supporters filling Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa and spending $1,000 to $50,000 to listen to, meet, and greet the GOP nominee. (Story continued below ...)
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Orange County faces a number of key proposals, measures and local elections next month. Learn about them here.
But Orange County, the sixth most populous county in America, has undergone significant demographic shifts, and with it has come changes to its political makeup. As recent as 2006, Republicans had a 260,000 edge in the total number of registered voters over Democrats in the county, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. Today, that lead has narrowed to 160,000 as the county diversifies both ethnically and culturally, with Latinos and others swelling the ranks of the Democrats.
Most experts say a growing percentage of county residents have also become more moderate on social issues, and that has prompted some Republicans to switch party affiliations in search of a more comfortable political platform to embrace when it comes to healthcare, education and the environment.