- AMERICAN THINKER -Oct 28, 2020 -
Bill Nelson, former Florida senator, once said “So goes Florida, so goes the country.” He wasn’t just referring to the 2000 election. Or to Florida’s 29 electorate votes, the third largest after California and Texas. He was referring to an interesting historical fact: in 21 of the last 23 elections, the candidates who won Florida emerged as the eventual winners of the presidential races. The exceptions were Bush’s 1992 and Nixon’s 1960 defeats.
If history is any indication, the key to Trump’s re-election is by winning Florida. The latest poll average shows the race is statistically tied with Trump 47.2% and Biden 48.7%. But aggregate polls tend to obscure the dynamic changes in the voters’ candidate preferences especially among the demographic groups that can decide the election. To understand it, let’s examine the changes in voters’ preferences among Florida’s Hispanic/Latino, Black, and senior voters.
Clinton won Florida’s Latino votes by 27% margin (62% to 35%) in 2016. An average of 10 polls in September showed Biden led Trump among Florida’s Latino voters by only 7% margin (50% to 43%). The latest polls gave similar results. Biden led Trump by only 11 and 7 points with Trump’s numbers remain at 43%. The support for Trump is similar to the results of the 2018 statewide elections. The then Republican governor and senate candidates, Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott, won 44% and 46% of Latino votes, respectively.
What drives Trump’s growing support among Florida’s Latino voters? The main factor is the Cuban American voters, which make up the largest of Florida’s 2.4 million Latino electorate (29%). In 2016, Trump won Florida’s Cuban-American votes by 13% margin. But two polls in September have already shown Trump’s lead over Biden by bigger margins, 26% and 34%.
Cuban-Americans are not amused with the Democratic Party’s socialist agenda for America. Even a leftist publication such as Politico acknowledged that Trump’s anti-socialism and his patriotism have helped motivate Cuban-Americans to vote for him. One survey shows 73% of Cuban-Americans polled have a favorable opinion of President Trump.
The second factor is the economy, which is the number one issue for Latino voters. President Trump’s deregulation and pro-business policies including the tax cuts have helped Latino’s businesses. Latinos tend to be more entrepreneurial than the general population. In the last decade, the number of Latino-owned businesses has grown almost twice the rate of all other ethnic groups combined.
All indications suggest that Trump is poised to improve his share of Latino votes by about 8 points. Latino voters are expected to make up 17% of Florida registered voters in this election. Hence, a 8-point gain can translate into a gain of at least 1.36% in total votes.