VP Mike Pence contends with changing political landscape during trip to Tampa

By The Numbers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –  Vice President Mike Pence spent his Thursday in Tampa Bay for a “Keep America Great” rally.

While Pence was greeted by dozens of supporters upon his arrival, his presence in Florida — a key swing state in the upcoming election — is shedding light on the ever-changing political landscape in the Sunshine State.

President Donald Trump won the votes of most Floridians just four years ago. He won all but one county in Tampa Bay and the surrounding area. But this time around, new polls from Florida Atlantic University show that, despite positive approval levels in the state, Florida voters are looking forward to a competitive campaign trail leading up to this year’s general election.

According to the poll, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren have the best chance of winning an election against President Trump – both with 51 percent of the votes. Biden, however, is currently showing a significant lead two months before the Florida Democratic Primary with 42 percent of the vote.

He is followed by Senator Bernie Sanders at 16 percent and Warren at 10 percent.

Florida officials are expecting an influx of candidates, including the president and vice president, during campaign season. They are all hoping to influence a growing population of Latino voters, many of whom migrated to the state following Hurricane Maria.

A 2018 Pew Research Center analysis found that Puerto Ricans account for an estimated 31 percent of the 3 million eligible Hispanic voters in Florida. It’s a similar share to that of Florida’s Cuban population. 

Pasco County in particular nearly doubled in Hispanic and Latino voter registration in 2018 compared to 2014.

“Florida looks to be competitive in 2020 with the four top Democratic rivals either tied or leading against President Trump in potential head-to-head general election match-ups, a flip from the September poll where Trump has small leads over his rivals,” FAU researchers said.

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