Florida is famous for its status as a battleground state during presidential elections. The most obvious example would be the 2000 election, in which Florida became the deciding factor for George Bush to become president. This reputation continues to prove true, as Florida was the only state in the 2012 election to be decided by less than 1% (in favor of President Obama).

According to FiveThirtyEight, Florida is the most important state in the upcoming 2016 election because of its high number of 29 electoral votes. That number is equivalent to two or three other swing states put together. It also has the highest “tipping point chance” of 16.4%, which means it has a 16.4% chance of providing the decisive vote in the election.

So who do the polls say is winning in Florida?

According to RealClearPolitics, Trump and Clinton are in a tie in Florida – regardless of whether the third party candidates are taken into consideration.

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However, a poll from Politico shows Clinton beating Trump by exactly three points:
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According to a Washington Post-Survey Monkey poll, the two issues most important to Floridians are 1) Jobs and the economy and 2) terrorism. Of those surveyed, 46% would vote for Clinton if the election were today, 40% for Trump and 10% had no opinion.

The stakes are clearly high for this state, but there is no guaranteed answer for either candidate yet. If Clinton or Trump want to win Florida, they should focus on subjects that Floridians care about.

Important Issues

The zika virus became international news when an outbreak struck Brazil in 2015. Cases have since spread to other areas of South America and North America, including Florida. As of September 9, there have been 56 transmission of Zika in Florida, and 596 travel-related cases.

While in Florida for a series of speeches, Clinton spoke at a health clinic in Miami to urge Congress to reconvene and fund resources to fight the virus. On the other hand, about a week earlier Trump said in an interview regarding Florida Governor Rick Scott, “I think he’s doing a fantastic job. And he’s letting everyone know exactly what the problem is and how to get rid of it. He’s going to have it under control. He probably already does.” While Clinton proposes a plan to combat the virus, Trump can only assume that the governor of Florida is taking care of it on his own.

Florida became the center of a multitude of issues important to this election on June 12, 2016, when 49 people were killed and 53 wounded at a nightclub called “Pulse” in Miami. It was the deadliest terror attack since September 11, 2001. This prompted a variety of debates across the United States regarding terrorism, gun control and LGBT discrimination.

In Clinton’s statement regarding the attacks, she called it both “an act of terror” and “an act of hate.” She emphasized the need to fight terrorist groups abroad in any way possible, affirmed her position as an ally to the LGBT community, and alluded to stricter gun control. On the other hand, Trump received scrutiny from the media for one tweet that said, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” Many people found this tweet to be an inappropriate response to the horrific incident, as he was making it about himself.

Congressional Races

On November 8, 2016, voters in Florida will elect 27 candidates to serve on the U.S. House of Representatives. As of now, there are 17 Republican representatives and 10 Democrat ones. Floridians will also be electing one member to the U.S. Senate on election day. As a battleground state, this election will help determine which part holds the majority of the Senate after election day. Incumbent and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio is up against Patrick Murphy (D) and Paul Stanton (L).

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