CNB News – ORLANDO, Fla. – President Trump won his adopted home state of Florida on Tuesday, defeating former Vice President Joe Biden in the largest of the traditional swing states and preserving a key part of what is perhaps his most likely path to reelection.
The Associated Press called the race for the Republican incumbent at 12:35 a.m. EST.
The outcome in Florida is among the most – if not the most – crucial for the president, who had staked his reelection hopes in no small part on recreating his 2016 win in a state notorious for its unpredictable and closely decided elections. In a sign of the importance he placed on Florida, Trump officially declared residency there last year.
In the leadup to Election Day, public polling foreshadowed a tight race in Florida, the third largest state in the country and home to some 14 million registered voters.
Two surveys released on Sunday showed close but divergent outcomes: a poll from The New York Times and Siena College found Biden with a 3-point lead, while an ABC News/Washington Post survey gave Trump a 2-point advantage. In neither poll did a candidate hold a lead outside the margin of error.
Trump focused his campaign in Florida on courting the same white conservative voters who helped hand him a 1-point win there in 2016. He also made efforts to strengthen his support among Latinos, who make up nearly 1 in 5 voters in the state, spending heavily on Spanish-language advertising and outreach.
But Biden made gains among college-educated white voters, who have trended away from the Republican Party since 2016, as well as with seniors put off by Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. That coalition, however, was not enough to overtake the president in Florida.