Florida is a crucial swing state with razor-tight margins—according to FiveThirtyEight, it’s the state most likely to tip the presidential election. In 2012, President Barack Obama won the state by just 74,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast. On Friday, new polling in Florida offers evidence that Hillary Clinton may have an edge against Donald Trump. The key is Hispanic voters.
According to the exit polls, Obama won 60 percent of Florida’s Hispanic voters while Republican Mitt Romney won 39 percent. In polling released Friday by Latino Decisions, a firm that focuses on the Latino community, Clinton’s lead is 14 points larger than Obama’s margin of victory; she’s beating Trump 62 percent to 27 percent. Florida’s Latinos, who make up about 15 percent of the state’s registered voters, are generally more conservative than the national Latino electorate, largely due to the sizeable and conservative-leaning Cuban population.
Given that the poll was conducted just before Trump’s hardline immigration speech in Arizona on August 31, it’s possible Trump’s numbers could slide further among Florida Latinos, Gabe Sanchez, a pollster with Latino Decisions, told reporters on a conference call Friday.
If Clinton can significantly outperform Obama among Latinos in Florida, that could give her a key edge in what is looking to be a tight—and critical—race in the Sunshine State.