Whoever wins Florida usually wins the U.S. presidential election. That’s good for Joe Biden and the Democrats, who lead the politics odds in the Sunshine State.
Florida has borne the brunt of jokes in America for quite some time – but especially during and after the 2000 U.S. presidential election. That state’s 25 electoral votes went to George W. Bush after the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote recount that was taking place, handing Bush the victory over Al Gore despite losing the national popular vote. Four years ago, Florida went for Donald Trump – no recount necessary, although it was another close call. It usually is.
Florida hasn’t had an overwhelming winner since George H.W. Bush took 60.87 percent of the statewide vote in 1998. But the Sunshine State is very much a bellwether for the rest of the country; except for 1992, when third-party votes for Ross Perot helped Bill Clinton defeat the incumbent Bush, Florida’s choice has also been America’s choice. Which is one reason why Joe Biden and the Democratic Party might belong in your politics picks for 2020.
Looking specifically at the politics odds from the fine folks at BetOnline, they’ve got the Democrats as the –150 favorites to win Florida as we go to press, with the Republican Party trailing at +120. Again, that’s very close to the national odds, where the Democrats are –165 and the GOP are +135. Those odds are fairly congruent with the polls; according to FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden and the Dems are ahead of Donald Trump’s Republicans by 6.3 percentage points, a bit below Biden’s 8.5-point lead across the country. As always, it’s important to note that “winning” Florida in this case means winning the electoral college votes. There’s a chance that Biden and the Dems will win the statewide vote, only to have “faithless” electors write in someone else’s name – which happened 10 times in 2016. However, the Supreme Court did just rule that states have the right to force their electors to choose the same candidate as their voters. That may or may not have to happen in Florida this November.
While we wait for the big day to roll around, note that Biden’s 6.3-point lead in Florida is massive compared to recent elections in that state. If he actually wins by that amount, it would be their largest margin of victory since 1998, when Bush père destroyed Michael Dukakis by over 12 points. There’s still plenty of time for Trump and his allies – both at home and abroad – to steer this election in their favor, but for now, it looks like Floridians are ready to hand the keys over to Biden and the Democratic Party to win Florida.
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