Will Florida Even Be a Swing State This Election?

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Photo by Gage Skidmore's Flickr | CC2.0

Hillary Clinton has a better chance of winning the traditionally deep red state of Texas than Donald Trump has of winning perpetually purple Florida. 

That's at least according to one metric of FiveThirtyEight's just debuted 2016 Election Forecast. That's how bad things are looking for Donald Trump in the Sunshine State (his own second home, no less). 

Nate Silver, the FiveThirtyEight mastermind known for using his special sauce of polling analytics to predict elections, gives Hillary Clinton a 73.8 percent chance of winning Florida in his "polls only" forecast. Trump has just a 26.2 percent chance. 

Again, to put that in perspective, Trump only has a 72.1 percent chance of winning Texas, which is a much more solidly reliable GOP state than Florida. Not only that, but FiveThirtyEight reckons that Clinton may win Florida by a slightly larger percentage than Trump wins Texas. 

In this metric, Florida has only the 13th closest race in the nation right now. The race right now is even closer in places like Missouri, Georgia, and South Carolina. 

FiveThirtyEight also uses a second metric that includes polling data and other information like historical data and the economic outlook. Clinton's chances get a little less certain when measured that way, but she's still the favorite. The "polls plus forecast" model gives Clinton a 63.3 percent chance of winning, compared to Trump's 36.6. 

Using this outlook, Florida then becomes the fifth closest race in the nation, but it's still nowhere near its usual razor-tight margin. 

Remember, back in the 2012 election, Florida was the only state in the entire nation where the race was decided by a margin less than one percent. 

Silver isn't a fortune teller, and his FiveThirtyEight method isn't a crystal ball. Lots of things could happen between now and November, and the data is merely a reflection of the polling that's happening now. (And, remember, the polling itself could be flawed. No one is quite sure what the voter turnout might look like.)

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However, Trump hasn't had a clear lead in a Florida poll since February. Clinton has either led or been statistically tied with Trump in every single major statewide poll for the past four months. 

Now, before you jump to the conclusion that Florida is going totally blue in the face, please remember we're still keeping to our tradition of close races elsewhere. A new poll in the Senate race found that Marco Rubio is exactly tied with potential Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy at 43 percent each. 

But in the presidential race at least, Florida is looking less like it's shaping up to be a photo finish and more like Clinton's state to lose. 


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