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US Election 2020

How many votes did Trump get in Florida in the 2016 presidential election?

Florida is one of the most prized swing states for both the Republicans and Democrats. With early turnout levels high it looks like another close race.

Florida is one of the most prized swing states for both the Republicans and Democrats. With early turnout levels high it looks like another close race.
Octavio JonesAFP

As the 2020 presidential election race reaches a crescendo both candidates are focusing a lot of their attention on Florida, one of the all-important swing states. President Donald Trump picked up the 29 Electoral College votes in 2016, narrowly beating Hillary Clinton in a state that she had been projected to win comfortably.

Can Trump repeat what he did four years ago and keep the Sunshine State Republican, or will his slender victory be overturned?

How much did Trump win Florida by in 2016?

One of the decisive victories in Donald Trump’s road to the White House came in Florida where he beat Hillary Clinton by less than a single percentage point. The President picked up 4,617,886 votes to secure a 48.6% vote share, while the Democratic candidate’s 4,504,975 votes left her with 47.4%.

Interestingly a Liberal candidate, Gary Johnson, picked up 2.2% of the votes cast and may have split the Democratic vote to leave Trump as victor. Such fine margins are common in Florida and Barack Obama secured a similarly slim win in Florida in 2012 with a 0.9 percentage point advantage over Mitt Romney.

In the build-up to 2016 most pollsters has Clinton as the favourite in Florida with election analysts FiveThirtyEight giving her a 55.1% chance of winning the state’s 29 electoral votes. Their projections were based on an amalgamation of a variety of polls which had generally pointed to a victory for the Democrats. However after being given just a 22.9% chance in mid-October, Trump roared back in the finals weeks to stage a hugely-significant comeback. When looking at Florida, expect the unexpected. 

Will Trump retain Florida in 2020?

With such a narrow lead in the previous election there is very little margin for the President and, as was the case four years ago, he goes into the final stretch as underdog. A series of recent polls have Biden ahead in Florida with an expected margin of between three and six percentage points. However although the studies by Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University and NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College make pleasant reading for Democrats, each one has Biden’s advantage within their margin of error.

Trump’s late swing in 2016 was built on a late surge of support from undecided voters that is harder to imagine this time around. The New York Times notes that only around 2% of likely voters are still undecided, while a whopping 80% of the entire turnout for 2016 has already cast their vote.

How are the Republicans and the Democrats feeling as we approach Election Day?

The fact that both candidates are circling the Sunshine State in the final days tells you how close they think it is likely to be, with both desperate to pick up those 29 Electoral College votes. Trump has refused to curtail his mass rallies despite the state’s soaring covid-19 case levels and Trump spoke in front of a packed crowd in Tampa on Thursday. He told those in attendance: “We are creating the greatest red wave in history.”

Despite being ahead in the polls the Democrats are taking nothing for granted after the bitter shock of 2016 and are said to be concerned with low early voting turnout in certain key demographics. POLITICO reports that the Biden campaign has only recently began door-to-door campaigning, a practice postponed due to coronavirus fears, which had affected their ability to mobilise support. Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris will be in Miami-Dade over the weekend to help boost turnout, with less-reliable Democrats currently turning out at a lower rate than their Republican counterparts in Florida.