Connect with us

Emails & Opinions

In Florida, professor predicts “hate election”

If it comes down to a Trump vs. Clinton matchup, how will Florida vote?

As usual, it’s a tossup.

Even though Donald Trump is alienating Florida’s growing Hispanic population, and Hillary Clinton has high unfavorables of her own, the state is poised to swing once again in November, with voters mobilized to cast a ballot against a candidate rather than for one.

“A lot of anger, even hate, will motivate this election,” said Michael McDonald, associate professor of political science at the University of Florida.

“Republicans are largely dissatisfied with their candidates. None get typically over 50 percent. And on the GOP side, the #NeverTrump movement is trying to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. Within the Republican Party, Trump is a very polarizing figure, and we have indications that in a general election the Democrats will be energized to vote against Trump,” McDonald told WJCT.

“However, with Hillary Clinton, who at this point looks to be solidly in the lead on the Democratic side for the nomination, Republicans have been primed for years to feel antagonistic towards the Clintons. So many Republicans will also be motivated, even the #NeverTrump ones, to find him more palatable than a Hillary Clinton presidency.”

McDonald says despite the intense, negative emotions this cycle, at least voter participation should be robust.

“We could see very high turnout in Florida, as people see very stark differences between the candidates and people go to the polls to make a choice that’s meaningful to them.”

And McDonald says in Florida, what will tell the tale is which voting bloc is most motivated to cast a “hate” vote: energized Latinos in the I-4 corridor, for example, who don’t want Trump, or disaffected white voters who haven’t typically been politically engaged.

Written By

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.