Q&A – Are Floridians Becoming More Conservative?

Today’s entry: I was talking with a buddy about how Florida’s politics have changed over the years. Especially about how Florida has become more conservative while the country has become more liberal. My question is whether native Floridians are becoming more conservative when they vote or are the newcomers more conservative than people thought they’d be?

Bottom Line: Florida has been trending towards the right for decades now. Based on voter registration information, the peak advantage for Democrats over Republicans occurred in 1980. Republicans have progressively gained on Democrats narrowing the deficit to under 1% in voter registrations by Election Day 2020, that's the narrowest advantage for Democrats in Florida history. That showed up in a huge way on Election Day as Republicans flipped two Congressional seats held by Democrats in South Florida. Furthermore, held five seats in the state legislature, and Donald Trump won Florida by 3.4% in an election won by Joe Biden nationally with 4.5% more popular votes. These changes have led many pundits to wonder if Florida is even a swing-state. It’s a valid question.

Is it a product of Floridians having a political change of heart or are those relocating to Florida more conservative? The answer is both. For ease of conversation, I’ll illustrate the point using just the changes in 2020. Last year, 198,000 Floridians already registered to a political party, changed parties. The net effect of the changes resulted in a gain of 54,000 Republican voters. Thus, native Floridan's on balance did, and consistently have been trending right. The same is true with those relocating and/or registering to vote for the first time.

Florida experienced a record gain of 1,028,908 new voters last year. Of newly registered voters there were 70,900 more Republicans than Democrats for a total gain of 124,900 more Republican voters last year through gains made by both native Floridians reregistering and newly registered voters. Many Florida conservatives have worried over the years that those relocating from high-tax blue states would bring their politics with them to Florida. As it turns out they have, but generally they’re Republicans fleeing blue state policies. This also helps explain why many of the blue states have become even bluer over the years, while Florida has consistently become more conservative.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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