Florida Returns to Red

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Donald Trump, shown in an earlier campaign event, turned Florida red, winning by 120,000 votes. /Trump campaign photo

Florida turned a shade of red on election night, boosting Donald Trump over the finish line with a 120,000-vote lead and 29 electoral votes, the biggest cache of any battleground state.

The vote lead is larger than President Barack Obama‘s 74,000 re-election win in Florida in 2012, but not as high as Obama’s over 200,000-vote Sunshine State margin in 2008.

Third-party ticket Gary Johnson-Bill Weld grabbed 2 percent of Florida’s vote or 206,000 ballots. That is more than double the 97,000 votes that Ralph Nader generated in 2000 which boosted George W. Bush into the White House in the 2000 elections.

The third-party vote was higher than for Ralph Nader in 2000. 

Narrow Florida Win

It was a narrow win for Trump in Florida – 49 percent vs. 48 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton – one that lays bare a very divided Florida electorate. It’s white people vs. everyone else, it seems.

It’s not that Latinos did not vote. It’s that whites voted more. Although the white share of the Florida electorate is shrinking, white voters came out to vote in droves. That made all the difference in returning Florida to red.

Florida voter turnout was high across the board, according to the Florida Division of Elections – 74 percent of registered voters cast a ballot,  a good thing.

But turnout in red counties was more decisive – 84 percent in Baker County (Panhandle), 84 percent in Sumter (The Villages), 86 percent in Collier (southwest). In Central Florida the figure was 78 percent in reliably red Seminole County. Even big-blue Volusia County turned red. How’d that happen?  

Compare that with 71 percent turnout in Orange and 72 percent in Osceola – great numbers  in any election year  – but not enough to overcome the Republican/conservative votes elsewhere in Florida.

Watch for more analysis, specifically voter demographic numbers and the mood in Florida, on Orlando Latino. 

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

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