National,  State

2020 Election Reveals Shifting Voting Patterns in Florida

In Florida, President Donald Trump was declared winner of the swing state in the 2020 election by obtaining 51.2% of the vote compared to President-Elect Joe Biden who received 47.9% of the vote. For Republicans, Trump’s win solidified what seemed to be an increasingly conservative trend in Florida since Trump had widened the margin of victory from 2016 when he won the state by 1%.

Prior to the election, Democrats had hoped that record voter turnout would lead them to a victory in Florida, specifically among the youth population. Despite historical trends showing that young voters are the least likely to vote, 2020 saw about 1.1 million more new Florida voters between the ages of 18 and 34 than there were in 2016 with approximately 50% turnout in the general election. 64% of youth voters in Florida voted for Biden. However, much to the Democratic Party’s dismay, this was not enough to secure Florida’s victory.

“The demographic makeup of the electorate is changing, and you see that most notably among the young who are much more racially and ethnically diverse,” stated American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Karlyn Bowman.

After the election, Florida voter surveys presented impressive outcomes from various voter demographics such as gender, age, race, religion and level of income. 55% of men voted for Trump in Florida, whereas 51% of women voted for Biden, illustrating a much narrower difference than predicted. Additionally, Biden secured most voters whose income level ranged from under $25,000 to $99,999 annually, although Trump received 58% of the vote from those who make over $100,000 annually.

One of the most surprising voting patterns from the 2020 election was Trump’s apparent gain in support from minorities, specifically the Black and Latinx communities. Perhaps one of the most significant examples of this shift took place in Miami-Dade County—a historically Democratic stronghold—where Biden only won by seven points compared to Hillary Clinton’s 30-point lead in 2016.

Within the Floridian Latinx community, Cuban Americans played a pivotal role in the outcome of election results in Florida as nearly 55% of Cuban Americans voted for Trump. Many have pointed to a misinformation campaign targeted at Latinx voters in Florida as pushing many voters to cast their ballot for Trump, accusing Biden of being a pedophile.

“There’s a significant amount of activity of broad conspiracy theories that have all the worst of American politics … and they have filtered into Latino households,” Florida International University professor Eduardo Gamarra said.

However, others have pointed to widespread inefficiency of the Democratic campaign strategy in Florida as the main culprit of this voting pattern shift in the Latinx community. Prominent PACs focused on Latinx outreach, such as Nuestro PAC, raising $27 million during the election season in comparison to The Lincoln Project’s $67.4 million raised to unsuccessfully sway conservative voters, which has raised red flags within the Democratic Party and among Latinx organizers.

“It’s just simply ridiculous that they talk about our community and the way we vote, but they have yet to invest in it. These folks spent a billion dollars talking to white people because it’s smart politics: If you want to persuade somebody to go vote for somebody, spend a lot of money talking to them. Then why don’t you do that with Latinos?” said co-founder of Nuestro PAC Chuck Rocha.

In the wake of the loss in both the Rep. Donna Shalala, Fla-D, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s, Fla-D, races, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo announced she would not seek another term.

“Even with all of this progress, we still made mistakes — but we can learn from them,” Rizzo wrote in a statement. “Although we didn’t get everything right, I believe that we can still celebrate our progress while acknowledging and improving upon our shortcomings.”

Featured image: Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Public domain image by Gage Skidmore, Shealah Craighead, and Krassotkin.

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.     

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