Florida trendline shows Donald Trump losing ground
Amid all the talk lately about Donald Trump flailing and falling way behind Hillary Clinton in key battleground states, it's worth reminding everybody that, Florida being Florida, we should expect another close presidential election in the America's biggest battleground state. In the last six presidential elections, after all, Florida has produced three Democratic victories and three Republican victories (one of those the tied race of 2000). The average margin of victory over those six races was 2.7 percentage points, with the most lopsided result being Bill Clinton's 5.7 point win over Bob Dole and Ross Perot in 1996.
That said, Trump has lost ground in recent weeks in must-win Florida. With 80 days before election day and less than 50 days before mail voting starts, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 4.5 percent in the average of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com. Prior to the conventions, Florida was a dead heat, but the six polls conducted since then show the Democratic nominee leading by as much as 9 percentage points and as little as 1.
These numbers are not predictive, especially with the first debate still more than a month off. But for what it's worth, RealClear showed Mitt Romney leading by 1 percentage point at this point in 2012 and McCain leading Obama by nearly 3 at this point in 2008. I haven't found an average for 2004, but a late August St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald poll showed George W. Bush leading John Kerry 48 percent to 46 percent in Florida.