Florida’s midterms one month out and what this cycle has in common with 2002.
In four weeks we’ll know who our next Governor will be. But, as is almost always the case, we’ll have a lot to say about who controls Congress. We’re also likely to see the highest turnout for Florida’s midterms in 24 years. Let's start there.
Floridians are better about voting than much of the country. It’s not unusual for turnout to be at least 10% higher in Florida compared to the national average. That was the case in the previous midterm cycle. In 2014, 51% of Floridians turned out compared to just 37% nationally. It’s likely Floridians out-vote the national averages again but based on how this cycle has played out, it appears that we’ll have the most active midterm election in Florida since 2002.
Voter turnout in the August primaries was 27%. If that doesn’t sound too impressive, you’re right. But, it’s actually the highest since the 2002 midterm elections. Even in the past four Presidential election years, the August primaries drew lower turnout. The last time at least 27% of Floridians showed up to vote in the August primaries was 2002. In 2002, in the wake of 9/11, 29% of eligible Floridians voted in the primaries with the overall turnout at 55%.
At a minimum, it appears that we’ll have the best voter turnout for midterms in 16 years in Florida. It also looks as though we’re pacing about 53% turnout. What’s even more interesting about the 2002 comparison is what happened that cycle. It was one of only three cycles in which the President’s party actually gained seats in midterms. Recently, I raised the question about whether we’re at an inflection point in our country’s history, in which the President’s party wouldn’t lose seats in the midterms. It’s interesting that one month away from Election Day in Florida, the conditions are most similar to what we saw in 2002, an inflection point in US history.
Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images