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Flagler’s 20-Point Margin For Trump a 28-Year High as Blue-Collar Counties Power Trump

| November 10, 2016

donald trump blue collar florida

From pink marble to blue collars. (Michael Vadon)

In 2012, then-GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama in Duval County, a crucial area for Republicans running in Florida, by 14,878 votes. Romney would lose Florida and the presidential election.

Four years later, Republican Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Duval by just 6,434 votes — then went on to carry Florida while winning the White House in one of the most stunning presidential victories in decades.

Trump’s win in Florida reshaped, at least for a night, many of the geographic notions of how presidential elections are won in the state. In Miami-Dade, Orange and Broward counties, Clinton increased Democratic performance by tens of thousands of votes over Obama’s showing four years ago. She not only cut into Trump’s edge in Duval, but reduced his advantage in suburban Seminole County by nearly three-quarters.

It wasn’t enough, though, to hold back a tidal wave of votes in rural and blue-collar counties that decisively rejected Clinton. In Pasco County, voters who had given Romney a 6.6 percentage-point victory in 2012 backed Trump by nearly 21.6 points this year. In Volusia County, which Romney won by just over a percentage point four years ago, Trump cruised to a 13-point victory.

Trump’s margin in Flagler is even more impressive, compared to previous Republican presidential candidates’ showings: Trump won Flagler by 20 points, a margin last seen by a winning Republican candidate when George Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988, and when Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale in 1984. In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama in Flagler but only by seven points. And the last time a Republican had won the presidential election, in 2004, George W. Bush beat John Kerry in Flagler by just three points. (Four years earlier Bush lost Flagler to Al Gore by a small margin.)

Turnout in Flagler was 73.5 percent, just half a point ahead of the 2012 turnout, and nine points below the 2008 turnout of 82 percent. Nationally, the 2016 turnout of 120 million voters was 7 million voters short of the 2012 turnout, nearly 10 million short of the 2008 election, and 1 million short of the 2004 election, when the nation had 31 million fewer people.

Trump improved the Republican margin of victory or defeat in the presidential race by more than 10 percentage points in 22 counties. The equivalent number of counties for Clinton was zero.

“White working-class areas, just like we saw in the rest of the nation, just rebelled against her,” said Matt Isbell, a Democratic analyst based in Tallahassee.

Isbell said white voters in more suburban areas, like Seminole County, were buffered from some of the economic forces that swept Trump to victory in working-class areas like Pasco County. That made those suburban voters less enthusiastic about going with a controversial real-estate mogul dedicated to shaking up the establishment.

“They’re doing fine,” he said of the suburban voters. “They see no reason to vote for somebody like Donald Trump.”

That rebellion wiped out what might have given Democrats the view that they were winning heading into Tuesday. The party aggressively banked votes that were supposed to build a seawall, but proved ineffective. Across 10 counties, Clinton added 197,000 votes compared to Obama’s performance against Romney four years ago.

Those gains were almost wiped out by Trump’s win in his seven best counties, based on the swing in the raw number of votes, where he gained almost 192,000. Nowhere was that more clear than in and around the western end of the I-4 corridor. In addition to winning Pasco County, he flipped Pinellas County from Democratic blue to Republican red and crushed Clinton in Polk County, more than doubling Romney’s margin.

Democrats’ vaunted edge among African-American and Latino voters didn’t salvage the race. Isbell said changes in votes by working-class whites canceled out many of those gains.

“Democrats cannot just afford to count on the non-white vote and get killed with white people,” he said.

In Flagler, by the time the nearly 30,000 early and mail-in votes were in, blacks had accounted for 10 percent of the vote, a proportion slightly less than the 11.4 percent of the black population in the county, but Hispanics under-performed especially starkly: they cast just 5 percent of the vote, though the proportion of Hispanics in the county is 10.1 percent, according to the Census Bureau. The age divide was also apparent: voters 61 and older accounted for 54 percent of votes cast in early and mail-in voting.

And while Clinton did better in some suburban areas, the defections to the Democrat from wealthier white voters who backed the Republican Party in the past appear to have been less widespread than expected.

“Republicans came home to Trump,” said Carol Weissert, a political-science professor at Florida State University. “If you look at the white numbers, even the white college-educated numbers, they were much higher for Trump than we had thought. Particularly, the college-educated women.”

Brian Hughes, a Republican consultant, said Trump’s unconventional strategic moves helped him run up vote totals in areas that traditionally haven’t been a major priority for statewide candidates. Trump visited Tallahassee in the closing weeks of the campaign, part of a push into Northwest Florida that some observers saw as wasted effort given Tallahassee’s liberal bent and the already-strong Republican performance across the Panhandle.

Clinton improved her margins slightly in Leon County, where Tallahassee is located, but lost ground in nearby areas.

“I think, strategically, it’s just that (the Trump campaign) did everything they could to demonstrate they wouldn’t take anything for granted, against them or for them,” Hughes said.

But Hughes pushed back against the idea that race was a decisive factor in Trump voting. He pointed to exit polls suggesting that Trump might have done better, at least marginally, with Latino voters than Romney did in 2012 — meaning the sense of disenfranchisement cut across ethnic lines.

“The Trump victory just says to incumbent and establishment types: Pay attention to the people you say you want to represent,” he said. “Or ignore them at your own peril.”

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive

22 Responses for “Flagler’s 20-Point Margin For Trump a 28-Year High as Blue-Collar Counties Power Trump”

  1. TylerDurden says:

    Onward! TRUMPS PLAN for mega investing in all infrastructure is going to bring tons o money to Florida soon. Expect some inflation in houses and equities and a job boom here, finally.

  2. Brian says:

    All of this discussion about “blue-collar”, “rural” and “college-educated” seems to insinuate that Trump’s supporters are intellectually deficient. More left-wing hogwash – you do not have to be Einstein to reject Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama.

  3. YankeeExPat says:

    TRUMP/ PUTIN 2020

  4. Geezer says:

    Our first orange president! Yippee!

  5. Ben Hogarth says:

    Places like Flagler will soon experience a newfound sense of poverty once all the guppies Trump hires get into their comfortable chairs. He already has former Goldman Sachs officials taking over regulatory positions come power transfer.

    But keep applauding Trump supporters. You have only guaranteed your own servitude and impoverishment.

  6. William Moya says:

    Clinton based her campaign on a message of triangulation that had worked so well for her and her husband in the past, but it is now clear that it was a strategy, that generals are often accused of, of fighting the last war.
    This was in stark contrast was Trump call to a white blue collar, rural audience and to what now is clear to many more educated voters including women.
    The republican party has gone through a major transformation in a very short period time, I frankly was wrong thinking that it was going to take longer for trump to accomplish this. It is now, and i’ll contradict one of your sources, the white party, the nordic tribes, that fell that power is as grain of sand slipping through their fingers, and they are right.
    Republicans did a good job, again, of voter suppression, first they used Benghazi and milked it until they over reached with the 11 hour hearing, then the email controversy broke and ran with that to the end with the help of Putin and the FBI, then we had the news that health insurance premiums were going up for everyone but smartly they used it on ACA. All of this was accomplished, to a large extent, with the media complacency the result of too much keeping an eye on the ratings.
    Ultimately, the Democratic Party will have to shift to a more liberal/pragmatist philosophical position that is based not in groups per se, but in the members of those groups, selling that message of progressivism for a vigorous America that embraces the future and is not afraid of it.
    There are, as one of the sources to this article states, many hispanics and african americans are social and religious conservatives to whom the message i’m proposing won’t be appealing, but politics is war without bullets; so succinctly put, to the barricades camaradas!

  7. Layla says:

    Who are you addressing here, Mr. Moya?

  8. Sherry says:

    Thank you William Moya. . . very well put! I certainly agree with you about the media’s role in this fiasco!

    I even wrote to MSNBC 5 months ago saying that the media outlets were responsible for getting Trump elected. I still believe they played a huge part because they still do not understand that ALL publicity is GOOD publicity. They put his name and voice out there almost all day. . . every day! They made him a super star!

    In reality, it didn’t matter what they said about him, or what he said about himself. They got the daily “news” very,very cheaply because Trump fed it to them. The Network heads were delighted! True investigative journalism has gone the way of all high “quality” services. . . it’s too damned expensive and gets in the way of higher and higher profits. Trump knows this. . . after all he is a student of another horrific human being, Roger Ailes. . . and he played the lame stream media like a fiddle. The trouble is.. . he also played the disgruntled American public.

    Be very, very careful what you ask for. . . you may be very, very sorry! Acting out of the “fear” sold by FOX and Rush may come back to hurt us ALL for a very long time!

  9. Anonymus says:

    I will at least give Trump a chance to lead this Country as I did Obama who managed to do NOTHING while in office for 8 years. As for Hillary, I’m glad she didn’t win, because we’d be in worse shape with her in office carrying on the “legacy” of Obama only worse!! We didn’t have a great choice of candidates this election, but it is what it is, the people have spoken & now we pray.

  10. William Moya says:


    The call to action is to those who feel that America’s best days are ahead of us provided that adopt smart, nimble, and just policies that will create a society for everyone and not some group that has maintained its power at the expense of all others. The politics of nostalgia will not work in this century, we have many competitors with a economies which on track to surpass ours.
    Making America great again is only a product of the historical mysticism that unfortunately too many cling on to.
    I’ll stop here only because because at this point i’m not sure whether the question was genuine or if it was intended as a euphemism


    I think our paths have cross before in these pages, once again thank you for your encouragement.

  11. William Moya says:

    If we would have heed the will of the people Mrs. Clinton would have been president.

  12. Born and Raised Here says:

    As a college educated, former white collar worker. I could see that beyond the black vote, most of our county was made up of the blue collar, and white voters with no college degree. They might regret what they did.

  13. Flagler1 says:

    I am a 67 year old white male. I spent 4 years in the United States Marine Corps with a tour in South Viet Nam. I have 3 college degrees including a masters degree. I worked in city, county and state gov. for my
    professional career. I always lived better and had a better quality of life under a republican administration.
    I’m glad we will have a president with BALLS for a change.

  14. Its reality says:

    I am so glad that there are soon to be people in charge who deserve it. I am a professional here in Flager. I barely make over $125k a year and it’s is a struggle believe me. I am sick of poor people taking my money. Get a job losers or my buddy Rick Staly will put you in jail. We should run this was a mess before.

  15. Fredrick says:

    “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” – President Obama, January 23, 2009.

    Did we see people with baseball bats walking around rioting or even peaceful protesting after this? I don’t think so. This stupid kind of conduct, acting like spoiled brats because you did not get your way is exactly why Trump won. The silent majority is tired of it.

  16. IMO says:

    Had Brighthouse installed yesterday. The contractor installing the system told me that ObamaCare wants $2,000 a month for a policy for him, his wife and to children.

    All election results finally come down to an individuals “Wallet or Purse.”

    This hard working man and his wife voted for Trump. All they want is affordable and accessible health care security for his family.

    Time for the republican controlled Congress to deliver.

  17. W.Ryan says:

    I can believe the comments from these Trump-pets. The Republicans for eight years plotted and said “NO” to the Black President Obama and KO’ed every chance of “Obama Care” working. Then they have nerves to talk about pockets!!! Hell yes! Elections have there consequences and we saw that with 40 and 43. This was simple about an affirmation of their “White male supremacy”.

  18. Common Sense says:

    What happens when he doesn’t deliver on his promises? Willl his supporters finally turn on him?

    A very sad day for our country. Sad to see the fear, worry and concern, while the Trumpians gloat in their expectation of the what he is going to give them.

  19. Mark says:

    @ W. Ryan

    Tell that to the blacks, hispanics and women who voted for Trump.

    This is about changing the direction of our country.

  20. NS says:

    I hope all of those that said they would leave if Trump was elected…..begin to exit quickly. Let them all flock to some liberal hell hole, riot against each other, coerce each other with the force of government , kill babies in the womb and make gay marriage the norm. They will eventually “liberal” themselves out of existence. Good riddance!!

  21. #Bernie2020 says:

    The contractor installing the system told me that ObamaCare wants $2,000 a month for a policy for him, his wife and to children.

    I just went to Looks like he is lying or just didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly.

    People covered:

    Primary (Age 40), Spouse (Age 40) and 2 other dependents with estimated tax credit (not your premium) of $629.57 per month

    Salary of $60,000 for the household (30K each)

    High level Plan

    Florida Health Care Plans · IND Essential Plus Bronze HMO 41
    Bronze HMO Plan ID: 56503FL1380002
    Estimated monthly premium

    Was: $851.94


    Family Total
    Out-of-pocket maximum

    Family Total
    Copayments / Coinsurance

    Emergency room care: 60% Coinsurance after deductible
    Generic drugs: $3 Copay after deductible
    Primary doctor: 60% Coinsurance after deductible
    Specialist doctor: 60% Coinsurance after deductible

    Estimated total yearly costs


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