In 2016, Donald Trump won the election in Florida. Four years later, voters in the former swing state are even topping it. What has happened there?
Trump needs Florida to win. That was one of the few certainties shortly before the US election, after all, the winner will receive 29 voters. And Trump got Florida. But he has not yet won the election. Millions of votes still need to be counted in several states. The election thriller in the US could drag on for days. Which states are now decisive for the election, find out here.
Trump is expanding his lead
Florida is considered the most important of the so-called swing states – unlike in many other states, there is no traditional democratic or republican election here, but differently for each election. But already in the early morning German time it was clear: In the “Sunshine State” Donald Trump still has the majority of voters behind him.
The incumbent president was not only able to repeat his election success from 2016 – he even extended his lead. With 51.2 percent of the vote, Trump is now more clearly ahead of his Democratic rival candidate Joe Biden than in 2016 in the race against Hillary Clinton. Many analysts said Biden had good chances of winning in advance, and at least forecast a head-to-head race. How did this misjudgment come about?
Mobilization potential was underestimated
Florida is particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis. The Washington administration’s crisis management has outraged many voters. The mood threatened to change, especially among senior citizens and white voters.
But a comparison of the election results in the individual counties of 2016 and 2020 shows two things in particular: The analysts have apparently underestimated the persistence and mobilization potential of Trump supporters. However, demographic change and the influence of the white electorate in the suburbs were overestimated.
Clinton was more popular than Biden
Ultimately, Florida voted almost exactly as it did in 2016. As in the rest of the US, the dividing line runs between the more democratic metropolitan areas and the rural areas, traditionally the home of Republican voters. According to the preliminary results, Biden was only able to gain three administrative districts (counties). The lead in two of them is so small that it could even disappear when counting the remaining votes.
In the end, only the state total counts anyway – and that’s pretty clear. According to initial estimates, one effect in particular contributed to the defeat of the Democrats: 2020 is in Florida A surprising number of Latinos voted and ticked Donald Trump.
Election observers attribute this to, among other things, the high number of Cubans in exile who probably cost Biden votes. The Republicans had repeatedly portrayed the Democratic candidate in the election campaign as a socialist who wanted to create conditions in the USA like those in Cuba or Venezuela.
Were the election prognoses wrong again?
In 2020, this apparently mobilized a group of voters who were still friends with Hillary Clinton – Joe Biden, however, deeply rejects them and prefers to give their support to a Republican president. In County Miami-Dade, for example, Hillary Clinton was still clearly ahead in 2016. With Joe Biden as a candidate, the Democrats’ lead shrunk to just seven percentage points.
That doesn’t have to mean much for the overall outcome of the election. On the contrary: after clarity prevailed in Florida, suddenly a lot was open again. And that’s where it will stay for now. Now everyone is waiting for the next big surprise.