For the past few presidential elections, Florida has been the grand prize of swing states. It's 29 electoral votes could have conceivably gone either way.
President Obama was able to win Florida in the past two elections, but that was only after hard campaigning and a sophisticated "get out the vote" system in the state. If demographic trends hold steady, though, Florida could soon become an easier win for Democrats.
That, however, is a big if.
According to Bloomberg News, Patrick Oakford of the Center for American Progress used voter simulations based on 2012 results and projected demographic changes to predict that that Obama's 0.9 percentage point victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 would look something more like 3.4 percentage points in 2016.
Why? Because Florida's Hispanic and Black populations are growing at a much faster pace than its White population.
The model projects that Florida's voting population will have grown by 1 million people between 2012 and 2014. Only 672,000 of those voters will actually show up, based on voting rates. But even still, 82 percent of those new voters will be black or Hispanic.
Oakford's model, however, assumes that racial and ethnic groups not only continue to vote in the same way they did in 2012 but also show up in the same way they did.
Bloomberg News notes that the black turnout could be smaller without President Obama on the ballot.
The model also assume that Hispanic voters will vote the same way they did in 2012, and makes no predictions based off the trend of Florida's Hispanic vote becoming more and more Democratic.
In 2008, President Obama won Florida's Hispanic vote with 57 percent. In 2012, that grew to 60 percent. That trend holds true even in midterm election. In 2010, Republican Gov. Rick Scott actually won the Hispanic vote by two points. This year, he lost it by 20 points.
Could that trend possibly be reversed with the presence of Marco Rubio on the ticket?
The move toward the left could also switch if Republicans change their positions and rhetoric. In our two-party system, both parties adapt and respond so that both remain competitive with each other.
So this model is a big if, but if Republicans continue down their same path with little efforts to connect with minority voters, it seems as if their chance of winning Florida again anytime in the near future could be slipping away.
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