Of all the states in my Swing State Symphony, Florida is the richest when it comes to votes in the Electoral College with twenty-nine. With that being the case, my antennae always quiver whenever a new poll is released from the Sunshine State.
Well, there was plenty a’quiver courtesy of a survey released by Public Policy Polling (PPP) which documented the presidential preferences of the citizens of Florida. In that poll (737 likely voters, margin of error 3.6 percentage points, results here), the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, is the winner over the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, by a single percentage point (45% for Trump, 44% for Clinton)*.
The previous four polls done in the state of Florida (Mason-Dixon, CBS News/YouGov, Gravis, Quinnipiac) all pegged Trump’s support at 42% (as previously written about here; full list of Florida polls here).
What this post will look at is where did Trump receive his boost of 3 percentage points?
Our first stopping point is gender.
The narrative of the 2016 presidential election seems to be that Clinton will win the women’s vote and Trump will take the men’s vote. This survey from PPP goes against that narrative. The most recent survey, before this PPP survey, that asked about a two-person race was done in May by CBS News/You Gov (as written about previously in this post). In that earlier poll Clinton beat Trump overall by a single percentage point (43% versus 42%). In terms of gender breakdown, the CBS News/YouGov poll had Trump winning 38% of the women’s vote (versus Clinton’s 47%). Less than a month later, the PPP results show the Republican Party nominee winning 45% (+7 percentage points) of the women’s vote (versus Clinton’s 44% (-3 percentage points)). Trump not only wins the women’s vote in this survey by a single percentage point, he also wins the men’s vote by the same 45%-44% figure.
In terms of party identification, Trump’s support among Republican voters remained constant. The CBS News/YouGov poll in May showed 84% of GOP voters supported Trump (with 5% crossing party lines). In June, PPP shows 83% of Republican voters choosing Trump (with 9% crossing party lines to vote for Clinton). What looks to be a 4 percentage point gain for Clinton in picking up Republican voters is cancelled out based on her own party’s voters. In the CBS News/YouGov survey, Clinton takes 83% of the Democratic vote (with 8% crossing party lines). In June, PPP shows 77% of Democrats choosing their party’s nominee (with 14% now crossing party lines to vote for Trump). Trump’s pickup of 6 percentage points among Democratic voters is greater than Clinton’s pickup of 4 percentage points among GOP voters. In addition, Clinton lost 6 percentage point among her own party voters while Trump only dropped a single percentage point.
In terms of race, Trump increased his support among White voters. In May, CBS News/YouGov showed that 50% of White voters would vote for Trump while 36% would opt for Clinton and 14% were undecided. In June, PPP showed that 59% (+9) of White voters would vote for Clinton while 31% (-5) would vote for Clinton and 7% (-7) were undecided. Clinton does make gains with Black voters (77% CBS News/YouGov; 91% PPP) and Hispanic voters (50% CBS News/YouGov; 53% PPP) in Florida. However, because White voters comprised 65% of the PPP sample size (while Black voters and Hispanic voters comprised a total 29% of the PPP sample size), the percentage gains made by Trump with undecided White voters moving to him is magnified over the gains Clinton made with Black voters and Hispanic voters.
In terms of age, young voters between the age of 18-29 moved to Trump. The CBS News/YouGov May survey had this age bracket voting for Clinton over Trump by a margin of 51%-21%. In the PPP June survey, Clinton still wins this age group with 50% of that vote, but Trump has now moved up to 36% (+15 percentage points). The percentage of undecided/third-party/I-don’t-know voters between the ages of 18-29 dropped from 27% (CBS News/YouGov) to 14% (PPP). It appears that almost all of those who were once on the fence landed on the Republican Party side of the lawn.
The other age brackets** are a wash for the Republican Party nominee. Those between the ages of 30-44 gave their support to Clinton over Trump by a margin of 42%-37% in May and they increased that margin to 54%-34% in June (+12 percentage points for Clinton; -3 percentage points for Trump). Those between the ages of 45-64 support Trump over Clinton by a margin of 50%-39% in both surveys (no net gain or loss for either candidate). Those over the age of 65 support Trump over Clinton by a margin of 49%-43% in both surveys.
Trump’s gains with women, Democratic voters, undecided White voters, and the young were enough to give him his slim lead in the Sunshine State in this PPP survey. Will this be his winning team to give him the state’s 29 votes in the Electoral College come Election Day?
*PPP also asked respondents to choose between Trump, Clinton, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In that four-person contest, Trump still defeats Clinton by a single percentage point (41%-40%) while Johnson takes 4% of the vote and Stein wins 2% of the respondents’ support. The analysis done in this post is only looking at the results of the two-person contest.
**The middle two age brackets between the CBS News/YouGov and the PPP polls were slightly different. CBS News/YouGov used brackets of 30-44 and 45-64 while PPP used age brackets of 30-45 and 46-65.