04 December 2011

Rank 27 / 25: Florida


The number of votes cast in Florida in 2008 reflected a near 15-fold increase over the year 1948!
Exact ratio, 2008 over 1948: 14.56 to 1

Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:

YearRankWinning %% MarginPart. ValueSwing“National SwingTrend
200022 /3048.85%+0.01%+0.53%+5.71%+8.00%+2.29
199628 /2448.02%+5.70%-2.82%+7.59%+2.96%+4.63
199235 / 1740.89%+1.89%+7.45%-20.47%-13.29%+7.18
198845 / 0760.87%+22.36%+14.63%-8.30-10.49%+2.19

Blue shading = DEM pick-up over the cycle before.Red shading = GOP pick-up over the cycle before.

Part.Value = state-wide margin minus national margin.
Swing“= statewide-margin minus statewide-margin from previous cycle.
NationalSwing“ = National margin minus National margin from previous cycle.
Trend= „Swing“ minus „National Swing“. Always a postive value.
margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): GOP +3.46 %


This trend designation needs an expanation: mathematically, it was a +7.82% partisan shift to switch FL from the GOP to the Democratic party in 2008 (absolutely identical to the partisan shift in PA in 2008) –which is a good sign for the Democratic Party, but since 2000, the GOP margin value over the national margin (Part. Value) has grown from cycle to cycle: +0.53% over the national in 2000 (Gore won the PV by +0.52% in 2000), +2.55% over the national margin in 2004, +4.45% (for the GOP, since is is -4.45% for the Democratic Party) over the national margin in 2008. The actual trend number is +1.90 for the GOP in 2008, +2.02 in 2004 – practically identical to each other in spite of different outcomes in the two years.

So, in spite of the fact that President Obama won Florida, its performance in relation to the national tideshows relatively stable Republican strength. Once again, a reminder: a trend designation is in no way a prediction. In states like 
UT, we will see a partial trend toward the Democratic Party, based on drastically reduced margins for McCain in 2008, but this in no way makes the state competitive for the Democrats. The electoral history of FL since 1992 makes it abundantly clear that the state is a bitter battleground and with such lean single digit margins for 5 cycles in a row, can easily go either way. 2012 will be an interesting testing-ground to see how an incumbent Democratic President who already won FL in his first term fares a second time around. You have to go back to 1936 to find an incumbent Democratic President who won Florida both times.

FLcounty-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet

(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)
The partisan rankings for Ranking 27 (Florida) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow):
Rank2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '64
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%
23 - 29IA9,53%OH2,11%NH1,27%PA9,20%TN4,65%MI7,90%23 - 29NM20,48%MO6,81%WI1,68%MO24,59%IL2,92%WI24,35%
24 - 28CO8,95%NV2,59%MO3,34%OR8,09%LA4,61%LA10,21%24 - 28KY20,66%PA7,11%OH0,27%NJ24,80%CA3,08%IA23,97%
25 - 27VA6,30%CO4,67%OH3,51%NM7,33%WI4,35%OH10,85%25 - 27NJ20,89%IL7,93%OR0,17%HI24,96%DE3,51%CO23,07%
26 - 26OH4,58%FL5,01%NV3,55%OH6,36%CO4,26%ME11,45%26 - 26CT21,90%CT9,63%ME0,84%VT26,20%WI3,62%DE22,17%
27 - 25FL2,81%MO7,20%TN3,86%MO6,30%KY3,21%KY11,64%27 - 25ME22,05%OR9,66%IA1,01%ND26,28%GA12.43%NM18,98%
28 - 24IN1,03%VA8,20%AR5,44%FL5,70%NV2,63%DE12,40%28 - 24AR22,18%OH10,60%OK1,21%WV27,22%OR6,05%IL18,94%
29 - 23NC0,33%AR9,76%AZ6,28%TN2,41%MT2,51%TX12,60%29 - 23AL22,26%WA12,34%VA1,34%NV27,36%KY6,14%MT18,38%
30 - 22MO0,13%AZ10,47%WV6,32%AZ2,22%NJ2,37%ND13,06%30 - 22MT22,30%IA12,70%SD1,48%CO28,01%NV8,16%CA18,32%
31 - 21MT2,38%NC12,43%LA7,68%NV1,02%OH1,83%KS13,23%31 - 21LA22,60%VA12,72%CA1,78%KY28,60%NH8,18%NV17,16%
32 - 20GA5,20%WV12,86%VA8,04%KY0,96%NH1,22%NJ13,64%32 - 20IN23,99%NJ13,42%IL1,97%NH29,12%SC5,79%ND16,09%
33 - 19SD8,41%TN14,27%CO8,36%GA1,17%GA0,59%AR14,18%33 - 19NC24,00%TX13,86%NJ2,16%AZ31,26%MT9,01%WY13,12%
34 - 18AZ8,48%LA14,51%GA11,69%CO1,37%NC0,79%NC16,26%34 - 18MS24,39%CA16,78%NM2,47%IN32,77%CO9,14%AR12,66%
35 - 17ND8,65%GA16,60%NC12,83%VA1,96%FL1,89%TN16,34%35 - 17VA25,19%FL17,02%WA3,88%TX32,96%VT9,22%IN12,42%
36 - 16SC8,98%SC17,08%AL14,88%MT2,88%AZ1,95%OK16,65%36 - 16SD26,47%NM18,18%NV4,36%LA36,97%FL9,60%NC12,30%
37 - 15TX11,76%MS19,69%KY15,13%SD3,46%TX3,48%AL19,30%37 - 15TX27,50%IN18,35%CT5,17%VA37,72%TN3,83%OK11,49%
38 - 14WV13,09%KY19,86%IN15,63%NC4,69%SD3,52%IN20,16%38 - 14SC27,99%CO24,00%MI5,39%TN37,95%NC8,25%SD11,22%
39 - 13MS13,17%MT20,50%SC15,93%TX4,93%VA4,37%GA20,25%39 - 13CO28,32%MT24,39%ND5,85%AR38,11%VA10,87%TN11,01%
40 - 12KS14,92%IN20,68%MS16,91%MS5,13%KS5,14%VA20,50%40 - 12FL30,66%KS24,56%MT7,44%KS38,15%SD11,31%UT9,73%
41 - 11NE14,93%SD21,47%KS20,80%IN5,58%WY5,60%MS20,82%41 - 11ND31,04%OK25,53%KS7,55%ID38,20%NM12,10%KS9,03%
42 - 10TN15,06%TX22,86%TX21,32%SC6,04%IN6,11%NV20,94%42 - 10KS33,67%AK27,94%IN7,62%WY38,54%IA12,19%VA7,36%
43 - 9KY16,22%KS25,38%OK21,88%ND6,81%AL6,77%NE20,96%43 - 9NV33,88%SD28,83%VT11,20%NC40,58%IN12,30%NE5,21%
44 - 8LA18,63%AK25,55%SD22,73%AL6,97%SC8,15%AZ21,21%44 - 8AZ33,88%NH29,39%NH11,28%NE41,00%OK15,70%FL2,30%
45 - 7AR19,85%AL25,62%MT25,07%OK7,81%OK8,62%FL22,36%45 - 7AK36,79%AZ32,36%CO11,47%UT41,25%ND17,71%ID1,83%
46 - 6AK21,54%ND27,36%ND27,60%WY12,98%MS8,92%WY22,52%46 - 6NH37,71%WY34,67%AZ16,57%SC42,66%UT19,42%AZ0,99%
47 - 5AL21,58%OK31,14%NE28,99%AK17,53%AK9,17%AK23,32%47 - 5OK37,94%NV35,64%WY19,49%FL44,12%AZ19,76%GA8,25%


FL Electoral Development
 (electors through history): 3 (1848-1860), did not vote in 1864, 3 (1868), 4 (1872-1900), 5 (1904-1908), 6 (1912-1928), 7 (1932-1940), 8 (1944-1948), 10 (1952-1960), 14 (1964-1968), 17 (1972-1980), 21 (1984-1988), 25 (1992-2000), 27 (2004-2008), 29EV (2012- ). Florida is still within a huge cycle of growth, with no decline in sight. 

Florida is the 27th most liberal state and the 25th most conservative state, with a Democratic winning margin of +2.81% and having voted 4.45% 
less Democratic than the national margin in 2008. Florida is one of the 9.25 Democratic „pick-up“ states from 2008, meaning it shifted from the Republican column to the Democratic column. Florida is the 3rd of 5 states in the Union where Obama's margin was UNDER the nationalmargin.
FL was the 26th most conservative state in 2004, with a Republican winning margin of +5.01% and having voted 2.55% more Republican than the national margin in that year. Florida almost perfectly paralleled the national statistics in 2004. 

FL was the 30th most conservative state in 2000, with a Republican winning margin of +0.01% and having voted 0.53% more Republican than the national margin in that year. Florida was one of a number of Republican „pick-up“ states in 2000, meaning it shifted from the Democratic column 1996 to the Republican column 2000. Florida 2000 is also the closest and most contested race in the history of US presidential politics.
Or to put it in perspective: Obama's lean +2.81% winning margin in Florida in 2008 was 281 times largerthan Bush's +0.01% winning margin in 2000!

From1904-2008, Florida went for the GOP 
12 times,forthe DEMS 15 times.

Since1948 Florida went for the GOP 
11 times,for the DEMS 5 times.

I already wrote an 
extensive county-by-county analysis of Florida in 2009, in three parts:

In the analysis are:
-recent electoral statistics
-extensive background information
-county-for-county analysis (percentage, percentage margin, shift, pick-ups, tipping-point counties)
-quick mega-county study

Go to these links to read the extensive report:

Florida 2008 – County by County

Part I

Part II

Part III

raw data


Basedon its voting record, FL 
is in no way a bellwether state in the Union, having missed the winner 7 times in the last 26 cycles, or 100 years, and more recently, 3 times since 1960. These statistics refer to the winner in the Electoral College. Referring to the winner in the popular vote, then it would be 8 misses in 100 years and 4 misses since 1960.

FL SuperlativesYEARCandidateWinning %Notes
---------------------Winning Margin %
All-time “squeaker”2000Bush, Jr.+0.01%537 votes, 36 days!

In Florida, as of 2010, the Governor, Lt. Governor 1 Senator and 19 of 25 US House Representatives are Republican. 1 Senator and the other 6 US House Representatives are Democrats. In the Florida Legislature, the Republican Party has a hypermajority both houses.

FACIT: With Obama's win in Florida, it is just as „battlegroundy“ as ever, and like Ohio, will be fiercely competitive. Being one of the 3 major swing states in the nation, Florida is a quadrennial battleground.

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