Dissecting Florida’s new voting patterns

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

ss-florida1Florida has become America’s bellwether swing state. All eyes are always on Florida’s 29 electoral votes in national elections, along with its ethnic diversity, which have spelled the difference in many major elections. Florida has an excellent record for selecting presidential winners, picking Lyndon Johnson, Dick Nixon, Carter, Reagan twice, Bush, Clinton, Bush again, Barack Obama twice, and Donald Trump. As Florida picks, so goes America.

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The top issues in Florida today, according to Professor Susan McManus, who conducted extensive surveying, are:

  1. The Economy
  2. Terrorism and Safety
  3. Foreign Policy
  4. Health Care
  5. Gun Policy
  6. Immigration

This means when voters entered the voting booth November 8, the economy and terrorism were foremost in their minds, and the voters who found those issues most important sided with Donald Trump in a big way. In addition, voters who are negative on the economy, or are “worse off” financially, went for Trump by more than two to one.

Of the ten media markets across Florida, Prof. McManus reports that Clinton underperformed Obama in vote share in all, except Miami/Dade. The voter turnout increased in seven of the media markets, and decreased in three (Tallahassee, Gainesville and Pensacola).

Millennials and Generation X-ers comprise precisely 50 percent of Florida’s registered voters these days. And three out of four voters maintain negative views of the federal government.

Florida has changed in the last seven years. Florida residents became older. The median age went from 40.3 in 2010 to nearly 42 currently.  The exceptions were five counties that became younger, all of them in the Florida Panhandle, including two that host military bases.

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The U.S. Census Bureau claims Florida has lost jobs in construction and real estate, but gained jobs in health care and tourism. The state gained wealthy residents from 2010 to 2015, with the percentage of households earning more than $200,000 per year, climbing from 3.6 percent to 4.1 percent.

Lastly, Real Clear Politics recently reported that 62 percent of Floridians believe the direction of America is moving on the wrong track while 31 percent say it’s going in the right direction.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.
John R. Smith

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