My theme for the 2020 cycle has been perception vs reality. For example, the President of the United States has been impeached and the Senate trial is taking place right now. President Trump’s average approval rating is near the highest it’s been to date. If you listen to the cries of inequality and economic woes from leading Democrats, especially Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warren, you’d not suspect the country is experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years with record low unemployment for minorities and record-high wages for all Americans. You also wouldn’t suspect the stock market continues to set record highs and the average American’s personal net worth has never been higher, even when adjusted for inflation. That’s all on the national political scene.
In Florida, I’m not sure exactly what the mainstream narrative might be about the upcoming elections, though the big story I read just yesterday suggested Democrats were the best positioned they’ve ever been in Florida heading into a presidential election. Something I like is tracking information as it becomes available, for example, voter registration information to the state. Following the trends has proven to be instructive in recent years, including understanding in part why pollsters were wrong about Florida in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. Yesterday the state provided a new update for the first time since last October.
These are Florida voter registration changes by party year over year.
Show of hands. How many people had Democrats adding the fewest new voters of any political option in Florida? How many guessed Republicans added more than 32,000 additional voters than Democrats last year? Again, perception vs reality. This continues to paint a clear picture confirming longer-term trends in Florida. We’re seeing surges in NPA’s and minor parties with meaningful increases in Republican voter registration. Also, the longer-term trend of a lower percentage of Democrat voters continues to occur. Democrats remain near their lowest registration advantage in Florida’s history. The current breakout of registered voters is 36.8% Democrats, 35.1% Republican, 1.1% minor and 26.9% NPA.
Democrats held a 2.5% advantage on Election Day 2016. That’s down to a 1.7% advantage. Historically, Florida’s Democrats haven’t reflected the most progressive wing of the party. The party’s continued leftward bend likely is impacting would-be Democrats from registering.
Photo by: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images