As voters in perpetually Blue or Red parts of the country know, their states' election results won't be making any headlines come Nov. 8. Rather, the presidential election usually comes down to a handful of swing states, known for "swinging" between both parties. And this year, perhaps no swing state is as important as Florida, with its 29 electoral votes.
In total, there are eleven swing states – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But recent polling indicates that there are just a handful where the race is truly competitive. Hillary Clinton leads by a substantial margin in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Trump has a slight lead in only two battleground states, Iowa and Ohio. The race is closer in Nevada and North Carolina, but Clinton still leads on average.
Which brings us to Florida, where the most recent Bloomberg poll has Trump leading Clinton by two points. Three other polls conducted in October show Clinton with a lead, and one resulted in a tie. This makes Florida the closest race in the country.
Florida is often considered the big prize of swing-state wins because it has the most electoral votes (29). The Sunshine State is also notoriously unpredictable, having voted for President Obama in 2012 and 2008, President Bush in 2004 and 2000, and Bill Clinton in 1996. Look back even further, and Florida has gone all in for both Democrats and Republicans, with Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon both winning every single county in the state. That's a remarkable consistency in being inconsistent.
Those who watched the 2012 results in real time may remember that Florida was too close to call on election night. Four days later, Obama was officially declared the winner in Florida, giving him eight of nine swing state wins. (The number of swing states varies from election to election.) And the 2012 results in Florida prove that polls are not always accurate: Republican candidate Mitt Romney had a 1.5 point lead going into Election Day.
So when watching election results on Nov. 8, keep a close eye on Florida. Its 29 electoral votes could very well decide who becomes the next president. And with polls showing such a tight race, those 29 votes could go to either Clinton or Donald Trump.