Will bellwether Florida county, Hillsborough, pick president again?

Hillsborough County in Florida has successfully picked the president in almost every election since 1960. Will this year be any different?
US President Barack Obama (right) speaks during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Florida International University on Nov 3, 2016.
US President Barack Obama (right) speaks during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Florida International University on Nov 3, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

FLORIDA (REUTERS) - When Floridians vote on Tuesday (Nov 8), eyes may fall on Hillsborough County.

It's chosen the president correctly in every election since 1960 with one exception.

"So the saying around here goes 'As Hillsborough goes so goes Florida, and as Florida goes, so goes the nation'," said Professor Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida.

The county is a statistical reflection of the US electorate, and considered a bellwether of how Florida votes.

At the Sun City Centre retirement community, it's easy to find the preferred presidential candidate.

 

"We have to have someone other than Hillary and we have to have a change in Washington," said 89-year-old Trump supporter Norma Everett.

"No choice, Trump all the way. We have to make America great again," said Mr Maurice Joyles, who also supports Trump.

These seniors are a reliable voting group and usually lean Republican.

But the county, like the country, also has a fast growing Latino community, which has at times been alienated by Mr Trump.

"It kind of scares me. I just had a daughter and I don't want her to be living in a world where Donald Trump is the president with all of the crazy things he says and he doesn't even think before he speaks," said Ms Michelle Perez, 24, a Clinton supporter.

Just who will become the next occupant of the White House might come down to Florida and its 29 electoral votes.