Saturday, August 06, 2016

Florida Voter Demographics place State out of reach of Trump?

 24% of Floridians in 2016 are Latin, up from 17% in 2000

Voter demographics by and large predict who will win the Presidential election.  This simple fact, doesn't get enough press attention because its really a matter of math -- not sexy -- and horse race coverage is better for ratings.   Never the less, voter demographics is the reason why the Republican party as lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.   Every presidential election cycle, voter demographics actually get worse for the Republican party; a fact not lost on GOP leadership. Following the 2012 loss the Republican Party commissioned a comprehensive study now famously known as the 2012 autopsy.  The bottom line was simple: going all in on white voters won't win the presidency and the GOP must expand their base to be competitive.  The party's POTUS candidates have completely ignored this study, but that is a subject for another post.

Perhaps no state better illustrates the GOP's problem than Florida.  Florida has been a presidential battleground for as long as I've been alive.  For many years, Florida favored Republicans because of the large, very conservative, Cuban population (I learned just how conservative the Cuban population was watching the Elián González custody dispute play out).  But as more and more non-Cuban Latin immigrants have moved to Florida, the tide as turned as George W. Bush learned in 2000.

In March, the Pew Research Center took a look at Florida, and the results are not at all good for Donald Trump.  A note on terms: Pew and the State of Florida
prefer the term "Hispanic" whereas I prefer "Latin" which more accurately describes this population.  99.9% of the Hispanic voters in Florida are in fact, Latin.   This also more accurately reflects Trump's problem.  While he hasn't attacked Spanish immigrants, he has invested heavily in attacking Latinos. Anyway, these terms here are used interchangeably.

24% of Floridians in 2016 are Latin, up from 17% in 2000. Overall, 1.8 million Latins were registered to vote in Florida as of February 2016, according to the state’s Division of Elections.

Among all Floridians, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in 2016. This is due in part to Latins, who accounted for 88% of growth in the number of registered Democrats between 2006 and 2016. During this time, the number of Latino registered voters increased by 61%, while the number of Latinos identifying as Democrats increased by 83% and those having no party affiliation increased by 95%. Meanwhile, the number of Latino Republican registered voters has grown much, much more slowly (see the chart). As a result, among Latin registered voters in 2016, 678,000 were registered as Democrats, 610,000 indicated no party affiliation and 479,000 were registered as Republicans. (It’s worth noting that not all registered voters cast a ballot, and voter turnout has a large impact in swing states like Florida.)

Go to the Pew report for a more detailed analysis, but the bottom line is this: these demographics nearly place Florida out of reach of any Republican, but especially for Donald Trump who has done more to get out the Latin vote than any Democrat could ever hope too. 

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