At this year's annual Lay of the Land Conference Marian P. Johnson, Executive Director at the Florida Chamber Political Institute, spoke about the shifting demographics here in Florida and how they might affect Floridian politics. Johnson has a wealth of experience, having worked for many local, state, and presidential elections including Ronald Reagan's 1980 and 1984 campaigns.
Johnson began by sharing a truly astounding statistic about Florida. If Florida were a country, it would be the 17th largest economy in the world.
"By 2030," Johnson said "there will be over 5 million new Florida residents. We will need 1.5 million new jobs."
Johnson then went on to share statistics regarding new voter registration in Florida. The number of registered voters has grown from 6.5 million in 1994 to nearly 13.5 million voters today. The Democratic Party boasts the largest voter base in Florida, with 4.97 million voters registered as Democrats. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has 4.72 million registered Floridians. Most crucially, Florida has 3.75 million Non-Party and third party voters.
Johnson also spoke about projected growth for different counties in Florida. According to Johnson, the following counties will see the largest growth in people over the course of the next decade:
- Miami-Dade - 639,060
- Orange - 451,990
- Hillsborough - 412,926
- Broward - 329,843
- Palm Beach - 279,976
- Duval - 225,250
- Lee - 212,763
- Osceola - 178,394
- Polk - 171,439
- Pasco - 129,769
Johnson also discussed one of the most unique characteristics of Florida's electorate, which is that it is almost always a swing state with a very thin margin of victory for candidates. Many remember the Presidential election of 2000, when George W. Bush won Florida by a margin of only 0.01%. In 2012, Barack Obama only won Florida by a margin of 0.87%. In both the 2016 Presidential election and the 2018 gubernatorial election, the victor won by a 1% margin. Florida's status as a battleground state makes the state essential to a winning strategy for any campaign.
With the general election fast approaching in November, it will be interesting to see which political direction Florida's electorate decides to go. Studying demographics and the transformation of Florida's population could hold the key to predicting political trends for Florida's future.
For more information on Florida's political demographics, listen to Johnson's speech below and follow along with her presentations slides here.