Further information: Elections in Florida, Politics of Florida, Political party strength in Florida, and United States presidential elections in Florida
From 1952 to 1964, most voters were registered Democrats, but the state voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election except for 1964. The following year, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, providing for oversight of state practices and enforcement of constitutional voting rights for African Americans and other minorities in order to prevent the discrimination and disenfranchisement which had excluded most of them for decades from the political process.
From the 1930s through much of the 1960s, Florida was essentially a one-party state dominated by white conservative Democrats, who together with other Democrats of the "Solid South", exercised considerable control in Congress. They have gained slightly less federal money from national programs than they have paid in taxes. Since the 1970s, conservative white voters in the state have largely shifted from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Though the majority of registered voters in Florida are Democrats. It continued to support Republican presidential candidates through 2004, except in 1976 and 1996, when the Democratic nominee was from "the South".
In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Barack Obama carried the state as a northern Democrat, attracting high voter turnout, especially among the young, Independents, and minority voters, of whom Hispanics comprise an increasingly large proportion. 2008 marked the first time since 1944, when Franklin D. Roosevelt carried the state for the fourth time, that Florida was carried by a Northern Democrat for president.
The first post-Reconstruction era Republican elected to Congress from Florida was William C. Cramer in 1954 from Pinellas County on the Gulf Coast, where demographic changes were underway. In this period, African Americans were still disenfranchised by the state's constitution and discriminatory practices; in the 19th century, they had made up most of the Republican Party. Cramer built a different Republican Party in Florida, attracting local white conservatives and transplants from northern and midwestern states. In 1966, Claude R. Kirk, Jr. was elected as the first post-Reconstruction Republican governor, in an upset election. In 1968, Edward J. Gurney, also a white conservative, was elected as the state's first post-reconstruction Republican US senator. In 1970, Democrats took the governorship and the open US Senate seat, and maintained dominance for years.
Since the mid-20th century, Florida has been considered a bellwether, voting for 15 successful presidential candidates since 1952. During such period, it has voted for a losing candidate only twice.