New polling about Florida voters’ views on Trump’s handling of the economy and their own personal financial experiences shows Trump’s grip on the economy as a winning issue slipping away from him. Yet Democrats have much to do to dominate the messaging on this issue.
Forty-seven percent of Florida’s voters surveyed said that what they’ve seen and heard lately about Donald Trump has made them less favorable toward him, while only twenty-six percent said it had made them more favorable. When they were asked to report what they had heard about Trump that made them feel less favorable to him, the most common complaints respondents offered were about his temperament and personality: they cited his tweets, his racist remarks, and his lying and not being a good person.
While these are important actions to hold him accountable on both electorally and morally, persuadable voters need to hear much more about issues that affect them personally, like health care, wages, and the ability to find a good-paying job. This is particularly true for women who report that their incomes are not keeping up with the rising costs of living. This will likely only become more important if troubling economic trends for working families continue.
While 56% of Floridians approve of how Trump is handling the economy, only 39% feel that they have personally benefited from Trump’s economic policies a lot or some. Nearly half of Floridians feel that they haven’t benefited at all from Trump’s economic policies (47%) and another 14% say they have benefited very little.. Democrats must continue to make the argument that an economy that doesn’t work for most is not a working economy.
Democrats must spend time and money to make the case that Donald Trump’s agenda is leaving middle-class Americans and working families behind. If Democrats don’t make this case in earned and paid media, many voters in Florida may be inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt based on the economy again, handing the key battleground state to him again in 2020.
The State of the Race in Florida
In 2016, Donald Trump won Florida by 1.2% of the votes, and in 2018, Republicans very narrowly won an open seat for Governor and defeated a sitting Democratic senator by just over 10,000 votes. And now, against a generic Democratic candidate for president, Donald Trump trails by just four points: 47% for the Democrat, 43% for the president, with 9% undecided. This is the same margin from our July polling, which showed Floridians voting at 45% for the Democrat, 41% for the president, and 14% undecided.
This slight deficit reflects voters’ overall opinion of the president. 44% of Floridians see wages and the cost of living as a reason to elect someone who will have a different approach, while 38% see it as a reason to reelect President Trump. And 42% of Floridians see drug companies and the cost of prescriptions as a reason to elect someone who will have a different approach, while37% see it as a reason to reelect President Trump.
Predictably, Trump’s electoral strength lies in Republicans (84% hold a favorable view of him versus 12% who view him unfavorably), white voters (50% favorable/45% favorable), and white men (56% among non-college graduates and 50% among college graduates) in particular. Democrats must continue to run a robust persuasion program to communicate to voters that Trump’s actions have harmed people like them, while putting big corporations and the wealthy first.
However, Trump is particularly unpopular among independents (57% view him unfavorably), voters in the Miami-Dade/Broward area (57% view him unfavorably), and Floridians under 35 (59% have an unfavorable opinion of him).
Danger signs exist for Democrats on the question meant to measure voters’ enthusiasm around the 2020 elections. The survey shows that 61% of younger voters, 55% of African-Americans, 63% of Latinx voters, and 63% of voters in the Miami-Dade/Broward area are highly motivated to vote in 2020. As a point of comparison, 72% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans report being highly motivated to vote. Democrats have more to do to make sure these important voters participate in 2020.
Key Issues in Florida
Health care dominated the 2018 midterms and the issue is set to be at the top of voters’ minds once again in 2020. In Florida, 50% of voters cite health care in their top four issues. Gun violence came second with 39%, followed by national security at 28%. “Wages keeping up with the cost of living” and “corruption in government” tied for fourth with 27%.