Republicans have cut in half the voter registration advantage Democrats enjoyed in Florida on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, when President Barack Obama narrowly carried the Sunshine State on his way to re-election.
But the new registration numbers aren’t necessarily good news for Republican nominee Donald Trump. Trump has antagonized many Hispanic voters, and the number of Latino registrations in the state — particularly those who signed up with neither of the major parties — has surged since 2012.
Democrats hold a 37.9-to-35.8 percent registration edge in Florida as of Aug. 1, the last date for voters to be eligible for the Aug. 30 primaries, according to figures posted today by the Florida Division of Elections. That’s down from a 40.1-to-35.5 percent Democratic advantage on the eve of the 2012 presidential election.
The share of Florida voters with no party affiliation has increased from 21.6 percent in 2012 to 23.6 percent now.
White voters, who were 66.5 percent of the Florida electorate in 2012, comprise 65 percent of the state’s voters now. The percentage of Florida voters who are Hispanic has increased from 13.9 percent four years ago to 15.4 percent now. The percentage of Florida voters who are black has slipped from 13.6 percent in 2012 to 13.3 percent.
In raw numbers, Democrats now outnumber Republicans by 259,321 in Florida — down from a 535,98-voter advantage in 2012.
Races at the top of the ticket tend to be close in Florida. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes or 0.9 percent in 2012. Republican Gov. Rick Scott won re-election over Democrat Charlie Crist by 64,145 votes or 1 percent in 2014. Florida drew international attention in 2000 when George W. Bush won the state by a mere 537 votes.
Republican registrations have increased from 4,245,991 in October 2012 to 4,431,400 now — a gain of 185,409 voters.
Democratic registrations have declined from 4,781,978 in October 2012 to 4,690,721 now — a decrease of 91,257 voters.
The number of voters registered with no party affiliation has increased from 2,572,901 in October 2012 to 2,913,948 now — an increase of 341,047 voters.
Voters who register with minor parties — such as the Independent Party, the Libertarian Party or the Green Party — have remained fairly stagnant since 2012. There were 333,575 minor-party voters in Florida in 2012; there are 342,332 now.
The number of Hispanic voters in Florida has increased by 242,005 or 14.6 percent since 2012, from just under 1.7 million to more than 1.9 million. Florida Hispanics are 38.9 percent Democrat and 26.4 percent Republican, with 34.9 percent registered with no party or minor parties.
Since February, when books closed for the March 15 presidential primaries, Florida voters have been more likely to choose a major party.
Republican registrations in Florida have increased by 155,296 since February and Democratic registrations have increased by 120,933. The number of voters with no party affiliation has increased by only 35,480 since February.
Nearly half of the voters Democrats have added in Florida since February — 60,020 — have been Hispanics.