Updated throughout the day.
Who’s ahead in Florida?
Updating average for each Democratic candidate in 2020 primary polls, accounting for each poll’s quality, sample size and recency
Our average includes all candidates that FiveThirtyEight considers “major.” Candidates with insufficient polling data are not displayed in the averages. State polling averages are adjusted based on national trends, which means candidates’ averages can shift even in the absence of fresh state polls. Read more about the methodology.
This state does not have enough data to show polling averages. Averages will not be displayed unless a state has at least five total polls or polls from at least three pollsters.
Added Nov. 2, 2020
RV = REGISTERED VOTERS
LV = LIKELY VOTERS
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Five things to watch for on Election Day in Florida
Florida is at the center of presidential politics once again, with the eyes of the nation on America’s largest battleground state to see whether President Donald Trump keeps his reelection hopes alive or if Joe Biden delivers a knockout punch.
A must-win state for Trump, Florida is also being closely watched because it counts mail votes faster than other swing states and could be an early indicator of the final outcome in the presidential race.
The final, frenzied days of the presidential campaign in Florida have seen both candidates work to turn out their bases, with Trump, Biden, Kamala Harris and Barack Obama all visiting the state since Thursday. The voter turnout efforts are paying dividends. Florida is among a number of states experiencing unprecedented pre-Election Day voting.
Elections in Florida can get complicated. The state is known for electoral dysfunction. Florida also is known for incredibly close presidential races, and 2020 is likely to be no different.
Success in the state often is a matter of small shifts in big demographic groups, such as the senior vote in Southwest Florida, Hispanics in Miami-Dade County or suburban voters around Orlando and Tampa, all of which could make a big difference in the final outcome.
Here are five things to watch for Tuesday:
How quickly could Florida be called?
The Associated Press called Florida for Trump at 10:50 p.m. on Election Day in 2016, making it one of the first major swing states to report decisive results.
There’s a good chance that could happen again this year, making Florida a key state to watch. If Biden has an early victory in Florida, it makes it difficult for Trump to drag out the race. Conversely, a Trump win could signal a prolonged battle over mail vote counting in states that take longer to process these ballots, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Florida should have quicker results because elections officials can start counting mail ballots 22 days before Nov. 3, so most of the ballots already will be tallied when the polls close at 7 p.m. in much of the state, and at 8 p.m. ET in the Panhandle. Other states start counting mail ballots only on Election Day.
But there’s no guarantee Florida will have results early. The state’s 2018 election went into overtime, with votes still being counted days later. Part of the problem stemmed from Broward County’s inability to process mail votes quickly. An audit found that the county had 50,000 mail votes that had not been processed by Election Day, and another 20,000 came in that day.
The Florida Legislature passed a law aimed at addressing some of the problems that arose in 2018, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order giving elections officials more time to count mail ballots.
But this is Florida, and the possibility of electoral problems remains a constant concern.
Anyone watching Florida’s results also should be aware that they are likely to favor Biden early because Democrats have been dominating mail voting, and the bulk of those ballots have been counted and those tallies will be released first. It will take longer to see how the Election Day vote – which is likely to favor Trump – plays out.
Problems at the polls?
Every election brings concerns about problems with voting and vote counting.
Florida is notorious for such issues, from long lines at the polls to problems with tabulating machines and controversial recounts.
This year is a particular concern because of the coronavirus. Elections officials have been taking precautions, such as requiring social distancing at the polls and sanitizing equipment.
The additional safety measures could result in longer wait times. A lack of poll workers – who often are older and more susceptible to the virus – also forced many elections supervisors to consolidate polling locations, which also could result in larger crowds.
There even have been concerns about conflicts at polling locations.
Trump has raised questions about voter fraud and said the polls should be guarded. “We’re going to have sheriffs and law enforcement, and we’re going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys,” Trump said in August.
DeSantis dismissed the idea of using law enforcement as poll watchers, but that doesn’t mean armed individuals won’t show up at some polling locations. A pair of armed, off-duty security guards raised concerns at a polling location in St. Petersburg last month. But such incidents have be isolated so far.
Conversely, there’s the possibility that Election Day runs very smoothly in Florida this year. A big reason is that many people already have voted.
There has been a massive pre-Election Day turnout in Florida. That could take some of the strain off elections officials Tuesday.
“We expect a relatively easy Tuesday,” said Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett.
What happens in swing counties?
Four Florida counties went for Trump in 2016 but flipped to Democrats in the 2018 governor’s race – Pinellas, Seminole, Duval and St. Lucie.
Each is interesting for different reasons, and all are worth watching as potential bellwethers of Trump’s success or failure in the state.
Seminole, in the Orlando suburbs, has been trending blue, with Trump doing worse than 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the county. It may be a key indicator of the suburban vote in Florida, which Democrats are counting on as they work to flip the state.
Duval – which includes the heavily African American city of Jacksonville – also has been trending toward Democrats and could be important for Biden, helping offset his struggles in places such as Miami-Dade County. It may reflect how successful Democrats are at turning out Black voters.
St. Lucie has a large population of working-class white voters and sizable Black and Hispanic minorities. Its leanings could say something about minority voter turnout and whether Trump maintains his strength with blue-collar whites.
Pinellas went for President Barack Obama twice before flipping to Trump and then going for Democrat Andrew Gillum in the 2018 governor’s race. Pinellas may be the most significant swing county in Florida with a population of nearly 1 million.
What’s up with Miami-Dade?
Trump isn’t going to win Miami-Dade County, Florida’s largest county and a reliably blue part of the state. But if he can do better there than he did in 2016, it could be a deciding factor. The Miami-Dade numbers have been looking good for the president so far.
As of Sunday morning, Miami-Dade led Florida counties with the greatest disparity between Republican turnout and Democratic turnout, an eight-percentage-point difference, according to an analysis by the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman.
A deeply diverse county of more than 1.5 million voters, many of whom hail from throughout Latin American and around the world, Miami-Dade is complex and difficult to forecast.
“Dade . is basically a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, stuffed into a empanada, doused with hot sauce, and barreling down I-95 at 90 mph in a Honda Civic in the emergency lane with the driver leaning out the window holding a couch,” Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who ran Obama’s 2008 Florida campaign and is now working with a political committee supporting Biden, wrote in a recent blog post.
Hillary Clinton carried Miami-Dade by 30 percentage points, but polls indicate Trump has stronger support this time around from Hispanics in Miami-Dade, particularly Cuban Americans. If he can improve his performance there, it would put pressure on Biden to do better than Clinton in other parts of the state.
That’s likely why Trump chose Miami for his last Florida campaign stop before Election Day, rallying a crowd an on airport tarmac until nearly 1 a.m. Monday.
Turnout, turnout, turnout
The overwhelming majority of voters have made up their minds at this point and the campaigns have been focused on turning out their bases in recent weeks.
Florida’s 62% turnout rate after early voting ended Sunday is unprecedented before Election Day. Voters are fired up, with Democrats and Republicans each at 66% turnout.
Florida Democrats and the GOP tend to focus their turnout effort on different parts of the state because that’s where their voters are.
Biden has held eight events in Florida during the general election, and five of his appearances have been in South Florida, where voter turnout in three big counties – Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade – is critical for his success. He also visited Tampa twice and the Orlando area once. Those metro areas also are key for Democratic turnout.
If Miami-Dade is a concern, a big bright spot for Biden is deep blue Broward county, where Democratic turnout already is at 69%. It hit 74% in 2016.
Trump, meanwhile, has spent much of his time in Florida campaigning in red parts of the state as he seeks to boost turnout. He held rallies in Pensacola, Ocala, Jacksonville, The Villages retirement community and Fort Myers, all conservative-leaning areas.
Trump won Florida in 2016 by winning red parts of the state by huge margins. He needs to do that again this year, and there are good signs for him. Turnout in Sumter County, home to The Villages, has been leading the state.
Other places to watch to see how Trump is faring are those with a lot of working class and older white voters, who went big for the president in 2016. Trump’s margins in the three counties north of Tampa – Pasco, Hernando and Citrus – could be telling, along with how he fares in Southwest Florida and the area from the Space Coast up to Daytona Beach.
Biden is hoping to have a stronger performance with these white voters and also needs to turn out a diverse coalition of urban voters.Could Florida be called quickly like in the past? Will there be problems at the polls? Which way will the swing counties go? And what’s up with Miami-Dade? ]]>