Hispanics in Florida shift to Trump on US election night

Early numbers from Florida spell positive news for the Republican incumbent.

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Early voting from Florida indicates that Trump has improved his support among Hispanic voters compared to 2016. Counties that boast sizeable Latino communities are recording bigger margins for the Republican candidate this time, whereas counties with large white and older working-class populations are experiencing small shifts to Joe Biden.

[See also: Why Joe Biden’s hopes in the US 2020 election rest on suburban whites]

Votes counted so far indicate that Florida is leaning Republican, but how that could translate to other states with large Hispanic populations, and the country at large, is hard to say. The demographic makeup of Florida's Latinos is different to that of those that reside in Arizona or Texas. They are of a more socially conservative bent, and polling in September suggested that swings in Trump's favour from these groups was on the way.

[See also: US election 2020: Inconclusive results point to days of uncertainty]

The fact that Trump could be losing ground in white, working-class heavy counties, however, is a notable and potentially consequential trend that could bode well for Biden in the Rust Belt states. Whether this will be enough for him to win the presidency is, however, still unclear.

The extent to which commentatrs are focusing on Florida shows how important the state is in this year's race. Realistically, Trump cannot afford to lose it if he wants to remain in the White House. Joe Biden, however, can afford this loss. The Democrat candidate could lose in Florida and still plot a path to victory through the Rust Belt states.

[See also: Will the US presidential election come down to four swing states?]

 Ben Walker is a data journalist at the New Statesman

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