Trump wins battleground Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President-elect Donald Trump, who won the Republican presidential nomination in part by knocking off two of Florida's favored sons, edged out Hillary Clinton amid heavy turnout Tuesday to win the state's 29 electoral votes.
Trump won by 132,643 votes out of nearly 9.3 million counted. The state's website shows 74 percent of Florida's 12.8 million votes.
Florida was the largest prize that was too close to call going into Election Day. That's why the campaigns and political committees spent more on television ads in Florida than any other state and the candidates and their surrogates made repeated trips to the state.
Clinton and Trump made repeated trips to the Sunshine State and their allies spent in excess of $120 million ahead of Election Day, according to Kantar Media's political ad tracker. Trump calls Florida his "second home" and his campaign acknowledged that a win there is vital to his White House hopes.
In Duval County, Trump defeated Clinton by just 6,055 votes.
"It's definitely in the margin for a recount right now," Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. "I don't know what the numbers are going to end up being. Got some provisionals to count. We've got some absentee ballots to count. Military is going to be voting up until Nov. 18. That's the same in all these other counties, so it may be a little bit here. That number could grow as we get through the week."
Early voting numbers also indicated a close race. Republicans cast 2.47 million ballots by mail or at early voting sites, compared with 2.56 million cast by Democrats. That means independents, who cast 1.23 million early votes, will have a strong sway in the election.
A Trump win in Florida was a surprise for Democrats who had banked on a surge in Hispanic voting turnout to power them to a victory. It could also upend expectations that Clinton would be the favorite nationwide, as a victory in the Sunshine State was an almost necessary condition for a Trump win.
"This is pretty remarkable -- in 41 counties in Florida, Trump's share is better than the best share that any R has gotten since 2000," wrote Democratic strategist Steve Schale in a post on Twitter.
Florida supported Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, Democrat Bill Clinton in 1996 and Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. The best example of Florida's unpredictable electorate and importance in a presidential election was in 2000, when it took five weeks to settle the state's election, and thus the presidency. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore by a mere 537 votes.
Here's a look at some preliminary results of exit polling conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.
Supporters, a great divide: There was a sizable gap in age and race between Trump and Clinton voters, and white and older voters helped push Trump to a razor-thin victory.
Trump led with voters age 45 and older, and almost two-thirds of white voters in Florida preferred Trump. Trump also had an advantage with men.
Clinton had a slight lead with Florida women, and voters under age 45, particularly millennials, supported Clinton. Almost 9 in 10 African-Americans in Florida favored Clinton.
There was a significant divide between Cuban voters and non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida, the state with the nation's third-largest Hispanic population. Trump led with Cuban voters, but more almost three-quarters of non-Cuban Hispanics preferred Clinton. Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric has turned off many Hispanics, but Trump appealed to Cuban voters in September by saying he would reverse the deal Democratic President Barack Obama made with Cuba to reopen diplomatic relations -- unless Cuba expands political freedoms.
Trump led with independent male voters, although the candidates split independent women. Self-described moderates favored Clinton.
Clinton led Floridians with advanced degrees, and those only with high school diplomas. Voters with only a college degree leaned toward Trump, and he did especially well with white men and women who were college-educated. The candidates were evenly divided among voters who had some college.
Trump led voters earning $100,000 or more a year, those making less than $50,000 a year favored Clinton. Trump had a slight advantage with income-earners in between.
Trump had a sizable advantage with Protestants, and a lead with Catholics, but Clinton was favored by voters from other religions and those who didn't identify with a religion.
Top concerns: Almost half of Floridians picked the economy as their top concern. Terrorism was second, with around a quarter of Florida voters picking it as the most important issue facing the nation.
Less than 1 in 10 voters picked immigration as their top issue in Florida, a state where 20 percent of residents were born outside the U.S. Floridians overwhelmingly felt illegal immigrants should be offered to a chance to apply for legal status instead of being deported.
Floridians were split on whether trade takes away jobs or creates more jobs.
Around two-thirds of Florida voters agreed that climate change is a serious problem. South Florida is among the regions of the nation most vulnerable to sea-levels rising.
A little under half of Florida voters said they were dissatisfied, but not angry, with the way federal government was working. More than a quarter of Florida voters said they were angry with the way the federal government was working, and two-thirds of those voters supported Trump. Slightly less than a quarter of voters said they were satisfied with the federal government, and Clinton led almost 4 in 5 of those voters.
Views on the candidates:
Slightly more than half of Florida voters had an unfavorable view of Clinton, and almost 3 in 5 voters had an unfavorable view of Trump.
A third of voters viewed Clinton as honest, and only slight more viewed Trump as honest. More than half of voters said Clinton was qualified to be president, while less than half viewed Trump as qualified.
Florida has nearly 12.9 million voters. They break down like this: nearly 4.9 million Democrats, nearly 4.6 million Republicans and more than 3.4 million voters not registered with either major party. That's almost 1 million more voters than the 2012 presidential election, when there were fewer than 4.3 million Republicans and nearly 4.8 million Democrats. Although Republicans have had bigger gains than Democrats since 2012, the fastest growing voting block is Floridians who don't register with a party at all. That number has grown by 517, 026.
News Service of Florida reporter Brandon Larrabee contributed to this article.
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