Is 11% This Election's Most Important Number... And If Not, Why Isn't It?

Tyler Durden's picture

With the US presidential election looming in just two months, there is hardly a state that is as critical to the outcome of who America’s next president will be, as Florida. As Bloomberg vividly summarizes, Florida - and specifically its five swing counties: Hillsborough, Orange, Pinellas, Seminole and Volusia - was the state that determined the president in all of the last 3 elections: set between the Republican-dominated North Florida and the more Democratic southern counties, these suburban communities of middle-class voters are known for their shifting allegiances. In 2008, Obama took four of the five counties to capture Florida. George W. Bush won three of the counties, and the state, in 2004. In 2000, Volusia’s vote count was disputed by Vice President Al Gore. Gore won the county yet lost Florida by 537 votes, giving Bush his first term as president. It is quite fitting then that these five counties are very much indicative of the primary malaise that has plagued the country for the past 4 years: the inability of the housing market to rebound no matter how many trillions in printed dollars are thrown at it. Which brings us to the key number that probably should (but most likely won’t in this age of ultra short-term attention spans and constant redirection and focus shifts): 11% - this is the foreclosure rate in these 5 critical counties, double what it was 4 years ago, and three times higher than the national foreclosure average rate of 3.4%.

Some more numbers: a stunning half of the mortgages are underwater, double the US average, according to CoreLogic.

In other words, if there ever was a time and place when economics, through its sheer failure to restore “household wealth” in this most decisive region, was a key issue, now is the time. And just as importantly, if it is Romney’s prerogative to focus on the shortcomings of Obama’s economic policies  (and if it isn’t it certainly should be) it is precisely these 5 counties that should be the focal point of any campaign that not only identifies the weaknesses of the current administration, but also proposes workable alternatives. Because by now the people in America are tired of mere jawboning (and if they aren’t they certainly should be) about who did what, even as the plight of the rapidly disappearing middle class gets worse and worse by the day.

From Bloomberg:

Overbuilding, population growth and speculators helped fuel the state’s housing boom. Now the bust has been drawn out by a court system unable to handle the glut of foreclosures. The average Florida foreclosure takes 861 days, second only to New York, at 1,001 days, according to RealtyTrac Inc.


“We’re used to leading out of a recession instead of lagging,” said Susan MacManus, political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “You have a lot of impatience here.”

Here, the irony abounds: As Bloomberg suggests, “nationally, the improved housing picture has helped push the subject off the short list of talking points for both presidential candidates. Neither President Barack Obama nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney gives housing much play, even in the Sunshine State.” Alas, the housing picture has not improved, and as we have shown before what we have experienced is merely the latest dead cat bounce in what is now a quadruple-dip, soon to be quintuple, in housing prices.

Of course, what little improvement there is, is in the ultra-luxury segment where the NAR continues to have exemption from anti-money laundering provisions, and gladly obliges any and every foreigner willing to launder their criminally-procured cash via US real estate, ostensibly primarily at the high end of the market. In the meantime, the foreclosure freeze not only continues but is getting worse despite the robosigning settlement which was supposed to unclog the foreclosure pipeline and achieved anything but.

This means banks hold increasingly more housing on their books, but for one reason or another are unwilling to release it, pushing ever more inventory into those unkempt “shadow" regions, and in effect subsidizing the housing market by keeping (tens) of millions of housing units off the market thus artificially pushing prices higher until such time as the true housing inventory picture is unleashed on the market.

All this, coupled with the imminent failure of the most recent shadow subsidization attempt by the government in the form of REO-to-Rentals, which is essentially converting housing into commercial REITs using government funding, for the simple reason that the US consumer is more tapped out by the day, means that the fifth leg lower of the housing market is imminent, but likely not before the November election day. In the meantime this most critical component of US household wealth will get precisely zero mention in the upcoming campaign debates, as will any discussion of what the next administration’s policy is when the secular housing decline resumes its deleveraging downward slope.
Bloomberg continues:

“You can’t talk about improving the economy in Florida without talking about improving the housing market,” said Brian Crowley, a principal at Immediacy Public Relations Inc. in North Palm Beach and  author of the Crowley Political Report. “Both of these candidates, when they come into Florida they tend to talk in sweeping terms,” he said. “If your house is about to be foreclosed on, you don’t care about the macroeconomics.”


While campaigning, Obama touts an existing program that has helped some borrowers refinance their mortgages to low interest rates even if their homes have lost value. Romney says a broader economic fix that creates jobs is the first step toward healing housing.


Neither message holds much appeal to homeowners still waiting for the housing recovery to reach  them, and the political price could be high, said Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. In 2008, Obama won Florida by 2.8 percentage points.

Curiously, despite their economic plight, Floridians appear to be siding with Obama, although the margin is thin:

A CNN/Time poll last week showed the Florida race almost deadlocked, with likely voters favoring Obama by 4 percentage points, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.


“So much of the way people vote is based on their personal situation,” Wilkes said. “If you’re a  homeowner and you’re in trouble, or you were a homeowner and lost your home, that’s going to be at the top of your mind.”


Finally, it is only a matter of time before one or both of the candidates have to discuss housing, with such key states as Florida and Nevada still in a housing price shock:


Florida holds 29 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. Nevada, another toss-up still reeling from the collapse, has six. The two states top Trulia Inc.’s Housing Misery Index, which tracks delinquencies and home prices. “If we’re going to hear about housing at any point in the election it will probably be in Florida,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia Inc. in San Francisco.

So far none have, as if housing will magically fix itself, and instead America’s future president and his challenger continue to

snipe nonsensically at each other over who paid what taxes and who was born where.

Yet what is most surprising is that the US electorate has allowed the presidential campaign to proceed for as long as it has without such critical issues being addressed. Perhaps it is for the better: after all in a time of central planning there is nothing anyone can promise, or do, that would have any significance on the final economic outcome, and perhaps America simply enjoys deluding itself using every known fudge factor in the book that this time, housing has finally bottomed. It bottomed in Japan too... And hasn't stopped doing so for over 30 years!

But perhaps none of the above really matters. The bread may be in short supply, but at least the circuses are flowing 24/7. Just as the average US voter likes it.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
lovemesomeZH's picture

I live in Pinellas County. I am a Ron Paul supporter, but since my boy probably won't be on the ballot I have to either not vote for president or , if it's legal, sell my vote to the highest payer of silver to be donated to a local charity.


Parabolic's picture

Seriously, does any of it really matter?  Two words: DIEbold....bitchez!

economics9698's picture

Florida has a huge illegal immigration voting problem. 

There are thousands of voters double registered in northern states and their vacation home, Florida. 

Illegal’s come here by the thousands and register to vote.  In places like Miami no one checks to see if residents are legal.

Governor Scott is trying to combat the problem and is called a racist, but he is trying to his credit to purge the voter rolls of illegals.

We have thousands of dead voters.  Florida is the nearly dead capital of the world and they arrive at 70 years of age and vote democrat for the next 70 years, dead or alive.  It’s a mess.

It’s fucked up, illegal’s come here, watch Telemundo, and think they are at home.  Telemundo, Univision, and al, the Spanish stations are nothing more than a mouthpiece for the democrats and all these ineligible voters turn out, over 100,000 easily, and fuck up our elections year after year.

The universities give out scholarships to thousands of the illegal’s, the illegal’s get all the welfare benefits, 47% of them, and dominate low skilled jobs making it impossible for low IQ whites who do not speak Spanish to get a job.

When the fiat dies Central Florida will be ground zero in the battle between black, whites, and Hispanics to kill each other.  The Central Florida I-4 corridor is the line between south America and white America.  They don’t call us the battleground state for nothing.


billwilson's picture



Scotts other brilliant idea of drug testing welfare recipeints ended up costing more than it saved ... it LOST MONEY! Typical problem for conservatives. They don't understand how their imagined eality does not fit with the true reality. 


Illegal voters, drug teking welfare recipients .... where is the proof????? There isn't any!

Monedas's picture

It was the liberals who used to favor national ID cards .... until they figured they could scam the the vote !      In Mexico the voter ID cards are strictly enforced .... so no illegal could complain if we had a voter ID card !

FL_Conservative's picture

In Mexico, they have strict anti-illegal immigration laws that get ENFORCED.

monoloco's picture

That's total bullshit, I live in Mexico and know of lots of gringos who have been here for years illegally and never been hassled. They don't enforce shit here, drinking and driving is the national sport and stop signs are just a suggestion.

AldousHuxley's picture

but do those illegal gringos get free shit from Mexico government?


illegal mexicans receive more welfare than income taxes paid and trasmit their savings back to mexico.


gringos in Mexico bring along their million dollar worth pensions and retirement savings to spend in Mexico.


Americans won't have problems with Mexican millionares spending pension funds to support local economy.


monoloco's picture

You'd probably be surprised at how many gringos are eking out an existence here on a minimal social security check. Property taxes are next to nothing and if you have legal residency you can get substandard free medical care through seguro popular. It's also popular with the alchoholico crowd who can't drive in the states anymore due to too many DUI's. Don't worry, it seems that Mexico has a reciprocal agreement with the US to except each other's dregs.

Curt W's picture

Nearly 25% of illegals in the US did not come from Mexico, they came through Mexico from further south.

blunderdog's picture

Love that big government shit, huh?  Yeah, we need more papers.  Put the Feds on the job.

The Alarmist's picture

What I would like to see is a law requiring drug testing of politicians.

GMadScientist's picture

I don't care what they put up their noses and butts, but I'd like the inside trading to end.

Yardfarmer's picture

Thanks 9698. much more informative and real than this dimwitted statistical gobbledegook. good luck with that battleground, bro.

yabyum's picture

9698, Linky winky please.....sorry limbaugh won't cut it.

Pure Evil's picture

Why don't you two assholes, billwilson and yabyum, provide a link that proves the opposite of economics9898 assertion.

You two are the type of gonorrheal drips that visit Disney World and think the rest of Florida looks exactly the same.

knukles's picture

So true, so true.
The rest of Florida is a real shithole after Disney World.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Illegals aside, Florida is just now crossing the ethno-socialist tipping point. Thanks as much to the Stupid Party Republicrats and their mania for cheap brown/black labor as to the Evil Party Demicans and their mania for more gubmint-aggrandizing crime, drug, and welfare class. With Jew York and Mexifornia now  "permanently" (until System Collapse) in the Democan column, the Whigs, I mean Republicrats, are about to become a shrinking, no-more-than-sectional party. Good riddance, and let it happen now. If the Kenyan narrowly as possible...60 days to Fort Sumter.  

Omen IV's picture

secession is the only solution - there is nothing united about the united states of america

bring it on !

monoloco's picture

Why would an illegal alien give a rat's ass who is elected president, and why would anyone care since we live in a corporately owned neo=liberal duopoly? It's just wasting more of the taxpayers' money to maintain the illusion that we actually have a choice.

GMadScientist's picture

What are you talking about you Aryan nation juvie rehab bottom bitch?

They don't even let the legal people of color vote in Floh-duh.

spanish inquisition's picture

I am sure the Dems to have resources trying to hack the pre programmed Diebold machines. As a back up, look to the overseas citizen and military votes.

You do not have to vote for blue or red, the lesser of 2 evils is evil. Pick a different candidate or write one in.

Let's see what happens if everyone who votes Blue or Red bacause they don't want to "waste" their vote actually voted the way they want. America, you might surprise youself.

goldfish1's picture

All it takes is swinging the vote 11 or 12 %...easy for Diebold. (Made in Ohio)

Ol Man's picture

‘He is a person of considerable importance,’ said Bidworthy, unable to decide whether the other was trying to be funny at his expense or alternatively was what is known as a character. A lot of these long-isolated pioneering types liked to think of themselves as characters.

‘Of considerable importance,’ echoed the farmer, narrowing his eyes at the horizon. He appeared to be trying to grasp a completely alien concept. After a while, he inquired, ‘What will happen to your home world when this person dies?’

‘Nothing,’ Bidworthy admitted.

‘It will roll on as before?’


‘Round and round the sun?’

‘Of course.’

‘Then,’ declared the farmer flatly, ‘if his existence or nonexistence makes no difference he cannot be important.’

Parabolic's picture

Seriously, does any of it really matter?  Two words: DIEbold....bitchez!

shokdee's picture

!! R U Seriously? !!

Does any of it really matter? Is it even matter really? When the wave function collapshishsss den de ....?

Two words: ElevenEleven  .... top dogs n bitchez!


Got that Alpha Bravo White Zulu, over?







Is these the only numbers that matters to it.





GMadScientist's picture

I think there gonna need to shock thee again, shockdee.

Don't tell the quaternion that the derivative is zero at midnight!

PlausibleDenial's picture

I too live in Pinellas County and I am a Ron Paul support as well.  However, every time I discuss Ron Paul people (neighbors) consider me to be (and it has been said) a traitor.  I get inundated with emails about the fucking birth certificate and comments about socialism/marxism and I just wonder how fucking stupid are these people. I know blah fucking blah..... I am writing in Ron Paul regardless and intend to notify all my fucktard neighbors about my choice.

marketblip's picture

The significance of the US election will be lost on the US electorate once the Eurozone blows up.


mercenaryomics's picture

That would require the US electorate knowing what the Eurozone is, where it is, or how it affects them.  Fat chance. 

trichotil's picture

Articles like this are pure unadulterated bullshit, what part of the voting process isnt rigged?


otto skorzeny's picture

pretty sad when some sun-fried hillbilly residents of "God's Waiting Room" decide the fate of a nation. curious-do these counties in FL contain alot of 12 Tribesman? Mitt is a AIPAC/hebe boot-licker so that may affect the voting

Silver Bully's picture

'curious-do these counties in FL contain alot of 12 Tribesman?'

Not really. Most of those are down south or in Miami, and even then there isn't many. No, Hillsborough/Pinellas has quite a diverse population. maybe not like Miami, but certainly more than Dallas or Seattle. A lot of blacks, whites, hispanics from all over (not just cubans). Problem is, the middle class has been fleeing the area for years now. In fact, what's left mostly exists in pockets (like North Tampa, or New Tampa)

Tampa (or Pinellas/Hillsborough) has economically been devastated since the real estate bubble popped. First, many middle class (and even some upper class) were driven out while the real estate bubble was inflating. Housing prices were skyrocketing, and home insurance increased almost exponentially along with it. It went from having a cheap cost of living to unbearable almost overnight. After the dot.bomb implosion in 2001, if you weren't in real estate, you moved out of town or you went to work at a call center, bank teller, construction, etc. Once real estate imploded in 2006-7, it was katie-bar-the-door to get out of the place. Everyone who could afford to move mostly already had. Those who couldn't are trapped with low paying service work, etc.

Half my extended family lived in Central Florida. Now, all of them (except my parents and sister) have moved out of the state for places with jobs or cheaper cost of living. I moved out of Tampa for Austin, TX back in April. You have no idea how good it feels to be in place where there are jobs, where it doesn't feel like the town is slowly falling into the ocean.

What surprises me is the number of people I know in Tampa who voted Obama (quite a few) are certainly NOT enthused for the guy this go around. Many have asked me to please not talk about politics with them until the election is over (and they know I'm a libertarian, not a Republican). They don't even want to acknowledge they voted for Obama last time, let alone this time. Tampa has done nothing but get WORSE financially. The rest will eventualy follow if things don't eventually pick up (which they likely won't). Hillsborough will likely swing to Romney by a slim margin. But what he should mostly be concerned about is the high number of black and hispanic voters who might or might turn out for Obama (in some way, shape, or fashion, dead or alive).

Note: even voter fraud can't make up *enough* for poor turnout. Obama's base in Florida isn't fired up for the guy.

Freddie's picture

Tampa has turned into a toilet and Orlando is catching Tampa.  They are more libs down in Sarasota than many realizes.  I hope it turns to sh*t too. 

Hopefully this Hopium AH's lose everything. F them.   A lot of them are all sorry and filled with regret now for voting islamic 2008.  They deserve what they get.

2008/2012 is lesser of two evils and the same coin but the muslim is the worst. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


2008/2012 is lesser of two evils and the same coin but the muslim is the worst.

Which muslim are you talking about? Obama or Romney?

GMadScientist's picture

Don't worry. Wherever you go will inevitably turn to shit as a result.

goldfish1's picture

It's nothing but shittalk 24/7. Need the bozo filter.

monoloco's picture

Don't worry about the blacks, once they purge all the ones that have a similar name to a convicted felon, they won't be an issue.

GeezerGeek's picture

Part of Obama's base in Florida should be irate, and if the Repubs had any sense they could caputure the entire retirement community. With Obamacare cutting $700 billion from Medicare, senior citizens can be swayed to dump not just Obama but also Sen. Nelson and maybe even Ditzy Wasserman-Schultz. I've only seen one ad about that tidbit of information, so we'll have to wait to see if Romney and/or Connie Mack decide to make it an issue.

It would, of course, be hilarious to see Repubs complaining about cuts to Medicare when they're supposedly in favor of fiscal responsibility and throwing seniors under the bus.

Such is my perspective as a long-time resident of SE Florida.

Divine Wind's picture



I bet there are lines at each of the heads at 1600 Penn from all the people shitting their pants.


centerline's picture

Housing is part of it.  Here in Central Florida there is also the skyrocketing cost of homeowners insurance and electricity.

Atomizer's picture



We just need to re-elect a man whose father was a goat herder in Kansas..

A Moment for the History Books 

Things could be worse!


Urban Roman's picture

LOL that vidoe was hilarious!

Some kinda new biotechnology in Kansas.

otto skorzeny's picture

goldbugs/inflation freaks-explain to me again how the above japan chart/stagnant or falling wages leads to Weimar-style inflation? Ben Shalom is doing pretty much nothing now to prevent inflation. A sky-high stock market does not inflation make.

HoofHearted's picture

You obviously failed to read the piece yesterday about how all of it ends. In honor of your favorite football team, since you were likely goofing off watching those guys and drinking beer instead of thinking, the score is:

Hyperinflation 56, hyperdeflation 0

Sure, it might not look like it to you from where you stand because you don't buy gas or eat groceries. Maybe you are with the William Dudley and say "Let them eat iPads," but real people understand that inflation is running rampant. We also know that the Fed can throw out whatever numbers it wants, but that doesn't make them true. Finally, we all heard Benjamin (get ready bitchez) Bernanke say that QE3 is necessary. He spoke that right out of his J-Hole speech.

Pay attention, boy!

defencev's picture

You are asking an absolutely legitimate question. There is absolutely no sign of hyperinflation. Moreover, if European blow up really happens , as mentioned in one of the above posts, it will be hugely deflationary event in US with Treasures probably moving to negative yields and Dollar strengthening. People who try to play with commodities will be blown off.

The propaganda of this website is purely ideological and totally and absolutely wrong.

FL_Conservative's picture

Stated like a complete dumbass.  The only reason we don't currently see hyperinflation is because the banks that received the cash have been sitting on some of it and investing some of it in the market, which has contributred to the bullshit rally and "bubbling" equity prices.  If Mittens wins the election, you can expect that 2013 will be a banner year for growth in the economy and jobs, and with that will come growing inflationary pressures as banks start putting the money they're sitting on into use in the market.  That's when this shit is gonna get real and, of course, Mittens will get blamed for this happening.  I could care less that he'll get blamed, but the Keynesians will have a fucking field day talking about how their economic policies would have prevented this, when, in fact, their policies are EXACTLY WHY this is staged to happen.

Curt W's picture

 If Mittens wins the election, you can expect that 2013 will be a banner year for growth in the economy and jobs,

Stated like a complete dumbass

The only way jobs are going to come roaring back is if China, and the rest of asia decides to pass a minimum wage law at $9 hr.