The Florida US Senate race took on new significance Friday as Republican Rep. David Jolly dropped out to in anticipation that Marco Rubio will seek a second term after all. We’ve pulled together the 2012 and 2014 turnout results using our Geopolitics mapping tool tool. It's clear the path to victory for any Democrat runs through South Florida.
Looking at our 2014 map, where county size reflects actual voter turnout and color reflects Dem vs. GOP vote margins, we see that while Charlie Crist received a higher share of votes than the President in 36 of Florida's 67 counties. But his return to the governor's mansion was doomed because of the low turnout in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Osceola counties--three of the five most heavily Democratic counties in the state. They say turnout drop by 39-42% from 2012, the worst in the state. In a race determined by less than 65,000 votes, 702,695 fewer people voted than in 2012 in these three counties alone. And while the Panhandle has far fewer voters than the rest of the state, it is consistently ruby red, and the drop in Democratic turnout in other parts of the state allowed the area to have that much greater of an influence on the 2014 election; enough to tip the totals in favor of Rick Scott.
The question for the Florida Senate race is How Badly will Trump Damage Little Marco? Will South Florida’s Latino population—which has been trending Democratic the past several cycles—come out in a big way to vote against Trump and continue down the ballot to punish Rubio and other Republicans? To be sure, a Democratic victory over Rubio requires South Florida to be “bigger and bluer” than in 2014 and probably even 2012.
If you’d like us to build a series of Geopolitics map for your race, just click here.
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