How voters flipped Florida to the GOP … with ramifications for the nation
It was not long ago that Florida had a Democrat governor and a Democrat senator. Democrats lost one of the Senate seats in 2004 and the second in 2020. Republicans did better in governors – taking the office in 1998 and holding it since. President Obama carried Florida in 2008 by 2.8 percent and 2012 by 0.9 percent. (Do we see a trend here?)
By all measures, Florida was a purplish battleground swing state that could go either way. As the graph atop this commentary shows that in January of 2020, Democrats had a 250,000-voter registration advantage over Republicans.
By May of that year, the ratio favoring Democrats began to decline – and rapidly. In less than two years, the Democrat advantage had completely vanished. In October of 2021, Republican registration surpassed Democrat registration.
The steeply inclined GOP-favorable trajectory continued until there are now 626,518 more Republican voters than Democrats – as of September 2023. It is noteworthy that the difference between August 2023 and September is an increase for the GOP of approximately 75,000. If that trajectory continues, Republicans could have a 1 million voter advantage for the 2024 presidential election.
This seems to explain why Palm Beach County flipped from a Democrat stronghold to Republican. And why a Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ron DeSantis, carried Broward and Miami-Dade counties for the first time. And why he had the greatest margin of victory in the nation. And why Trump carried Florida in 2016 and 2020 – increasing his margin of victory from 1.2 to 3.3 percent respectively. (Do we see a trend here?)
It was only a decade ago that the Florida Republican leadership were expressing concern that the influx of New Yorkers would push the Sunshine State more securely into the Democrat column. Apparently, the New Yorkers did not want what they left behind in the Empire State – especially the Big Apple.
The phenomenal growth in Republican registration was not merely due to new residents. According to polling, the Black and Hispanic communities have begun to incrementally shift their allegiance to the GOP – in Florida and throughout the country.
Florida may be part of a larger national trend than a unique one-off. In 2023, 35,589 Pennsylvania Democrats changed their voter registration to Republican. Only 15,622 switched from GOP to Democrat.
This trend has brought the GOP up to a tie with Democrats at the national level. Past polling put the breakdown at 28 percent Republican to 30 percent Democrat. The most recent Gallup Poll has the new figures at 27 percent for each party – with 43 percent independent. According to the Poll, Independents are more likely to vote Republican by a 45 to 43 percent margin.
The fact that Republican registration only dropped one percent and Democrat registration three times that number suggests that the political narrative claiming Trump is driving folks out of the GOP disproportionately is topsy-turvy. In fact, all the current trends seem to be defying Democrat orthodoxy – and bode well for President Trump and the Republican Party, in general.
None of this can be predictive of outcomes, however. The political air is too turbulent to predict a safe landing for either side. But it is a general trend that should be – and is — scaring the hell out of Biden & Co.
So, there ‘tis.