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Florida Key to White House

As we move towards the Republican and Democratic National Conventions next month and the General Election in November, the focus now is on the Battle Ground or Swing States. They are as as follows:

  • Colorado (9)
  • Florida (29)
  • Iowa (6)
  • Nevada (6)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Virginia (13)
  • Wisconsin (10)

These states represent 130 of the 538 available electoral college votes. It is also where most of the Presidential Election will take place, as most of the states can already be put in the ‘Clinton’ or ‘Trump’ columns due to party support in those states.

Clinton has already started the fight in these states by buying advertisements in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. The Trump Campaign have reserved ad time on national television networks; this is being seen as a ‘head fake’, trying to get the Clinton campaign to spend money in states where Trump claims he could be competitive in, like New York, California and Michigan.

Florida will be seen as the key for victory for both campaigns, as it has the largest number of votes available; with 270 the number to get to, the Democrats have a head start as they can bank on getting 217 votes, while the Republicans start with 191. This means that Clinton only needs to pick up 53 extra votes while Trump needs 79. Florida’s 29 votes are a must win for both Clinton and Trump if they are going to take the White House.

The polling in these states don’t currently show an easy way for Trump to overcome this gap. With the RealClearPolitics polling average showing a Clinton lead of 5.8 points, the battle ground states aren’t looking any bit more favourable for Trump:

Battlegrounds Clinton Trump RCP Average
Pennsylvania 46.3 42.3 Clinton +4.0
Florida 44.2 42.6 Clinton +1.6
Ohio 42.7 41.3 Clinton +1.4
Virginia 43.8 39.8 Clinton +4.0
North Carolina 42.8 43.8 Trump +1.0
Georgia 40.8 45.0 Trump +4.2
New Hampshire 43.0 36.5 Clinton +6.5

This shows the challenge facing Trump. He must try to get a better result than Mitt Romney did in 2012: while Romney carried North Carolina by just over 2% of the vote, and Trump is already only leading by 1% on the Polling average for North Carolina.

On the other hand Obama won Florida by a slender majority of 0.8%, which should be possible to overtake, but with Trump’s low polling among Hispanic voters, Clinton’s lead of 1.6% looks safe if she invests the time, money and staff into the state in the way Obama did in 2012.

Florida has been the key state for a number of past elections, not least in 2000 when the election ended up in the Courts. While the 2016 election hopefully won’t be decided in the courts, it will be decided in Florida.