Trump can’t be reelected without winning Florida

Guest Columnist

No Republican in 95 years has won a presidential election without winning Florida.

In a poll released last week by Florida Atlantic University, President Trump trails Joe Biden by  six percentage points, 47 percent to 53 percent from May 8-12. This drop is a sharp reversal from the March FAU poll that had Trump ahead by 2 percent. Other polls earlier in the year (Fox, Quinnipiac) had Biden defeating Trump by a narrow margin, or found the two in a virtual tie.

Despite Biden’s strong new lead, 53 percent of the 1000 Florida voters surveyed said that they believed Trump will win re-election.

His affinity for golf aside, the President has spent more time in Florida than in any other location outside of Washington D.C. Yet Trump still may be in serious trouble in this swing state and he and the Republicans know this. The GOP and Trump supporters are nervously dumping millions of dollars to push negative Biden ads into the Panhandle and Gulf areas to energize their supporters.

The most important issue, cited by Republican voters in the FAU poll, was the economy, followed by the re-election of the president. Democrats cited defeating Trump as the most important issue, followed by health care.

Yet the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent economic downturn will most certainly be the defining issues for voters in November.

But with the economy in free fall, unemployment in the tens of millions, an imminent Recession/Depression on the horizon, and a second wave of the pandemic expected right before the election, many Democrats are hopeful about winning.

A new poll by North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab found that 55 percent of registered voters felt  Trump had not gone far enough to contain the spread of the virus. Trump’s approval numbers may continue to fall precipitously.

Trump won Florida in 2016 by 1.2% of the vote over Hillary Clinton. A significant factor was Trump’s 7% lead among senior citizens. In the critical states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all states with large, older, retiree populations, Trump’s senior support was essential to his eventual victory. Obama won Florida by 2.8% and 0.9% in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

But seniors over 65, are the most vulnerable to the pandemic, and the president’s own polls reveal a drop in boomer support as he moves to reopen the economy, at the cost of more deaths among the elderly.

A recent Morning Consult poll unsurprisingly found that the Baby Boomer generation was “very concerned” about the coronavirus outbreak compared with other generations. There is a real fear that a second wave of coronavirus is coming in the fall that will threaten their lives. If the second wave hits before the November election, Trump’s chances of winning will be significantly diminished

In a recent national poll, Joe Biden had a 10-point advantage over Trump among voters 65 and older, a startling demographic shift, that is troubling Republicans. Before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton lagged Trump by 5 points with this very same group.

Trump knows all this. A few weeks ago he signed a proclamation declaring the month of May to be “Older Americans Month.”

Trump’s erratic daily briefings on the coronavirus, dismissive demeanor, and his acerbic personal Tweets have not helped him with older voters. Trump’s unscientific theories such as combating the virus with sunlight and injections of bleach have not helped. But his aides have not been able to dissuade him or rein him in.

For the most part seniors trust their doctors and Trump’s disagreements with Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical authorities have undermined their confidence in the Commander-in-Chief.

Biden had great appeal among older voters and blue-collar workers with his moderate personality and compassion in the primaries, whereas Clinton was never able to win their support.

Ultimately Trump’s chances of winning Florida and the presidency hinge on the economy.

Trump is trying to position himself as the comeback kid. The great hero who saves the country from the pandemic and brings back a robust economy. He is promising a vaccine by the end of the year, which gives him a few months, after the election, to deliver.

But stubborn facts may get in his way. In November, if there are still 20 million unemployed, the Dow below 24,000, and the U.S death toll rising to 150,000 (mainly elderly) with no treatment or vaccine in sight, there is no way he can spin this. Or win Florida.

In 2016 Trump could have lost Florida and still won the presidency. He won enough other swing states — Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania — but today paints a different picture. He is losing in those swing states, making his home turf of Florida, a must-win for his re-election.

The Republicans and their Super PACs know this and are dumping tens of millions of dollars into the Panhandle and Gulf areas to motivate and turn out loyal supporters.

But if he loses the seniors, no amount of money will be enough.

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Longboat Key News

1 Response for “Trump can’t be reelected without winning Florida”

  1. Steve Keller says:

    Nice to note that for the most part Fleetwood has managed to keep his usual Democratic bias reasonably in check for this article, although a bright glimmer popped out in his totally unsupported statement that “the President’s own polls reveal a drop in boomer support as he moves to reopen the economy AT THE COST OF MORE DEATHS AMONG THE ELDERLY”. Now really Blake – what evidence is there to support the conclusion in that syllogism?

    One can’t help but wonder how much better off the citizens of this country would be if the majority of main stream media folks returned to honest objective journalism instead of agenda driven political activism.

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