It is generally believed that Donald Trump needs to win the states of Florida and North Carolina to have a chance at triumph in the 2016 presidential election. Early results from those states show Hillary Clinton in the lead. However, digging deeper into the numbers paint a not-so-rosy picture for the Democrat candidate.
Early results show Republican voters trailing Democrat voters by about 305,000. Yet at a similar point in the 2012 voting Barack Obama led Mitt Romney by 447,000, yet lost the state to Romney by 97,000. All else being equal, this does not bode well for Clinton.
Clinton’s lead over Trump, as revealed by early voting tallies, is around 33,000. Florida is, however, one of the more populous states, and this number reflects just 0.5% of the in-person total of the early votes. A look back to 2012 shows Obama holding a 3.7% advantage over Romney at the same stage, and held off Romney in a close race.
The early voting in North Carolina likely reflects a decrease in interest in demographic groups that typically favor Democrats. White voters, the demographic that most strongly votes Republican, appear to be turning out in numbers that exceeded those for Romney four years ago. The most current information indicated a decrease in Black voter turnout by just under 9%.
A major wild card in all this, one which makes predictions on the outcome difficult, is what to make of the independent vote. In Florida, independents comprise just over 20% of votes cast, with remaining voters evenly split between those registered Republican and Democrat.
Another factor that will be central to the outcome of the election is the Hispanic vote. Hispanics are turning out to vote in far larger numbers than in 2012, denoting a 100% increase from Obama – Romney contest. Caution should be used when interpreting what this means, as history shows Hispanics voting more on election day as opposed early voting, when compared with their White counterparts. In addition, Florida has the largest concentration of Cuban-Americans, who tend to vote Republican.
It will be fascinating to watch the results arrive from the key battleground states of Florida and North Carolina. It is much too early to predict whether these states go blue or red.