Florida is a colorful state, unlike any other in America. It’s been called many things in recent years, often in a manner that makes it a punchline. Laugh all you want at “Florida man….” and his exploits, but once again it’s one of the most critical states in this November’s Presidential election.
The Sunshine State decided the 2000 election, and it has been in very influential in every election since. The extremely unique economic and cultural make up of the population lends itself to being the ultimate “purple state” with red counties, blue counties and magenta counties. As a whole “magenta” is the best way to describe it.
As you can see in this race tracker, the 2020 US Presidential election odds show Florida to be a dead heat. Both incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden are given odds of -120 to win the state. Upon examination of the 14 most-recent state polls, seven list it as a toss up. None of the polls favor Trump taking his “home,” at least from a voter registration standpoint, state.
The best central hub on the internet for following the Electoral College race in Electoral-Vote.com as it has an interactive map with the latest state by state polling. It also shows each state’s winners back to 1992. They show Biden up 50%-47%, but computing the Florida A, Monmouth and St. Pete polls. Trump won the Gulf State by just one point last time, Barack Obama won it both times he was on the ballot, with George W. Bush taking it twice as well.
Bill Clinton won it in 1996, but lost there in 1992. That marked the last time a candidate won the state, but lost the election.
What’s most telling about those seven results is how all of them were decided by six points or fewer, with but two being decided by just two points or less!
So it’s the ultimate “within the margin of error” state, but that doesn’t mean it’ll decide the winner. Trump, despite losing the popular vote by about three million, won the 2016 election because he flipped six states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Of the aforementioned states that Trump turned red last time out, North Carolina and Ohio join Florida in the toss-up category, while the other three expected to turn back blue. North Carolina and Ohio, while in the margin of error, are still leaning towards Biden right now.
In other words, Biden can likely afford to lose Florida, but Trump cannot. Of course, sleep on the sunshine state at your own peril! Just ask Al Gore, who made some interesting comments about this election during a Zoom call we joined a couple weeks ago. Gore won the popular vote but lost the election due to the messy chicanery and overall disaster that was the Florida election in 2000.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.