What explains the difference between the county level vote received by President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 Florida general election? Over the last couple of decades, Florida has earned a reputation for being a highly competitive state that impacts control of the White House and congress. As Florida’s electorate becomes increasingly diverse, will the Democratic Party begin to win more often as their usual base grows, or will the Republican Party figure out a way to remain competitive? The 2016 general election presents an opportunity to analyze the structure of support for two Republican candidates who represent different paths for the future of the Republican Party: Trump, who won Florida by just one percent, and seemingly alienated Hispanics and women with his comments and policy proposals; or Rubio, who won by about eight percent, a Cuban-American thought to be a fresh voice for the GOP and a bridge to Hispanic voters. Regression analysis is used to examine support for Trump and Rubio and also the difference in support between the candidates. The results indicate Trump did better in counties with larger percentages of lower educated whites, lower income households, and higher unemployment rate. Rubio performed better than Trump in counties with larger numbers of Cuban and non-Cuban Hispanics, women, and voters not registered with either major party. These results suggest that Democrats may gain ground in Florida over time if the Trump wing of the GOP takes over the party and if current population trends continue.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Jewett, Aubrey


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science; American Politics


UCF Online



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date