(NewsNation Now) — When you think Florida, you might picture a beautiful blue ocean, or orangey-red sunsets.
But when it comes to elections, purple is the color political scientists often call the swing state. It is a battleground that is almost always close in presidential elections.
The diverse population starts in the South in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. Cuban Americans gather at Little Havana staple Café Versailles to talk politics.
“I support Trump because of everything he has done. We are in no wars. He is protecting the border. I believe in everything he is doing,” Trump supporter Maria said outside the restaurant. She did not want her last name used.
But some younger Cuban Americans, like Yamile Fluto-Hernandez, say President Trump has ignored Latinos.
“He is only for him. Not us. He doesn’t care about Hispanics. In four years, he had four years for us, and he did absolutely nothing,” Fluto-Hernandez said.
Further South, what is known as the I-4 corridor is a critical area for candidates to win.
I-4 is the 132-mile highway that crosses over the middle of the state between Tampa and Daytona Beach.
“It crosses through an area where historically it was very white and very rural. Where the orange farms were. Then came Disney. Then came the boom in Orlando,” Nova Southeastern Political Science Professor Dr. Charles Zelden said.
In Orlando, we met Bryant Coleman who was out canvassing for Joe Biden.
Coleman was a server at Disney’s Magic Kingdom before getting laid off because of the pandemic.
“I like Joe Biden because he will listen to a lot of different people, where with Trump it is his way or the highway,” Coleman said.
Coleman believes Biden will get the economy going again.
He can’t afford an apartment, so he lives in a motel room near Disney World.
“We have an affordable housing problem we need to address,” Coleman said.
Just down the road in Orlando, we met Jennifer Tribble.
She owns Pigtails and Crewcuts, a salon that specializes in kids’ haircuts. Her business was devastated when the salon was shutdown due to COVID-19. It has since reopened.
“I’m leaning toward Donald Trump because I feel like there has been a push to help small businesses and we need more help,” Tribble said.
Tribble says she fears voting for Biden because she is scared of being shut down again.
She says it is sometimes difficult telling her friends she is a Trump supporter.
“I worry about being judged and being criticized. I worry about people not supporting me as an individual. I think that is a shame. I’m always open to a conversation, Tribble said.
The senior citizen vote is also very important in the Sunshine State.
The Villages is a senior community with 130,000 residents over the age of 55. About 57% are Republican, and not afraid to show it with their President Trump golf cart parades.
“I’m supporting the President. I’ll be voting for Donald Trump. I did in 2016, and will again this year,” Villages resident, and Republican organizer John Calandro said.
Calandro, 74, is a retired automotive executive from Michigan.
He says the economy, and the health of his 401k, are one of his top priorities.
“When the stock market is doing well, the Democrats tell you the rich are the only ones doing well, but I think it is important for us. So I think the economy is important,” Calandro said.
Judie Pristaw, 73, also lives in The Villages. She is a retired teacher and says the economy is also her number one issue. But she believes Joe Biden is the president who can turn things around.
“I think he takes the virus a lot more seriously. I don’t think he is threatening to take away Medicare and social security. And I just think the tax cut only helped the top one percent. But a lot of us are here because the housing is affordable for nice housing and we are not the top one percent,” Pristaw said.
For the last fifty years, Floridians have voted with the overall winning presidential candidate. The only exception was in 1992 in the election between Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Florida went for Bush, but Clinton won the presidency.