Why Florida is set to deliver one of the big moments of the US election

It's the wildest, weirdest, swingiest state in American politics.

When it comes to peak drama on US election nights, Florida is ground zero. To arrive here with just a week to go is to touch down in the centre of an electoral storm.

As the temperature climbs, Florida is gearing up as one of the big hotspots on election night, cementing its reputation as the ultimate presidential battleground.

The polls here are so tight they're squeaking - and the stakes couldn't be higher.

Because if Donald Trump can't pull it off in the Sunshine State, he'll be back at his swanky pad at Mar-a-Lago - and Joe Biden will be heading to the White House.

Voters here are being love bombed by the candidates and bombarded on the airwaves by campaign ads.

Trump was here at the weekend; Obama is due back on Tuesday and Biden's heading here on Thursday. 

The reason?

This isn't a red or a blue state but a purple one, a heady mix of mainly Republican voters in the north of the state - the so-called panhandle - and Democrat strongholds in the south.

Donald Trump casts his ballot in West Palm Beach, Florida Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

One in five voters is over 65, and the largest Hispanic community in the US makes its home here.

It's also vast - its population has exploded in the last 60 years to 21 million. It delivers a massive 29 crucial electoral college votes on election night.

And it earned itself a reputation for crazy cliffhangers in 2000, the year of the infamous Bush v Gore hanging chads recount.

Trump supporters in Florida. Credit: ITV News

The recount and the legal challenges lasted 36 days, ending up in the Supreme Court. In the end George W won there by just 537 votes - and was off to the White House. 

Every race since has been on a razor wire: Trump only beat Hillary Clinton here by one point.

So lawyers are already licking their lips this time round, the campaign teams already lining up their legal teams ready to swing into action again if needed.

George W Bush won Florida by just 537 votes in 2000 Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Covid has hit this place hard - more than 16,000 have lost their lives - but it's not stopping people from voting, and is likely motivating many. 

The turnout figures are astonishing: already more than six million have cast their vote, either by person or by mail.

The stats suggest the Democrats have taken an early lead; the Republicans now counting on getting a massive in-person vote on November 3 to turn it around (and that's how Trump won last time).

Will Florida deliver another US election nail-biter? Credit: ITV News

So be in no doubt, everything points to Florida delivering us another high octane moment of election night drama.

How on earth voters here are holding their nerve, I have no idea. 

Watch Trump vs Biden: The Results on Tuesday 3rd November from 11pm on ITV