Florida was once the iconic swing state. What happened?
In 2022, before he began a campaign for the presidency, Ron DeSantis was reelected governor of Florida in a landslide. This was impressive and surprising because the 2022 elections were disappointing for Republicans almost everywhere else in the US. But DeSantis’s overwhelming victory was doubly impressive and surprising because when he had first been elected, just four years earlier, it was by just a tiny margin.
For a long time, in fact, tiny election margins were the norm in Florida elections. Florida was a “swing state” — it sometimes voted for Democrats, sometimes for Republicans, and was a major prize up for grabs in presidential elections. But by 2022, something had changed: Florida Republicans up and down the ballot won their races by margins similar to DeSantis’s, and no one was calling Florida a swing state anymore.
Florida seems to have undergone a political transformation. So what happened? In this video, we look at three possible explanations.
0:00 Something changed in Florida
1:49 Defining the question
2:52 New Floridians
4:10 Latino voters
7:05 Florida Democrats
8:26 The other reasons
10:09 A request
Read the “The United States of Florida,” a contributor-supported project from Vox: https://www.vox.com/culture/23864468/florida-man-invasive-species-republican-disney-publix-miami
We looked at …. a lot of data for this video. Here are the main sources we used:
County-by-county results in Florida elections from 2016-2022 came from the Florida Department of State’s Election Reporting System: https://results.elections.myflorida.com/
The screenshotted US Census page showing that Miami-Dade is mostly Latino can be found here, under the “data tables” tab: https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-the-united-states-2010-and-2020-census.html
Our map showing the “specific origin” of various states’ Latino populations was inspired by the University of Washington’s Great Migrations Project: https://depts.washington.edu/moving1/map_latinx_migration.shtml
The data we used for that map came from the US Census via this very helpful tool: https://data.census.gov/table?q=B03001:+HISPANIC+OR+LATINO+ORIGIN+BY+SPECIFIC+ORIGIN
The chart about Spanish-language ad spending in the 2022 Florida governor’s race came from a post-mortem of the 2022 election by the research firm Equis. You can find it on page 59: https://weareequis.us/api/docs/qV8T7OpIWxw54fYWr9F0M/d1ecc7309b286d6b7db60d7f140f3b4f/2022_Post-Mortem_June_14.pdf
And now for the big red bars. The Florida state party expenditures came from Transparency USA, an organization that tracks state-level campaign finance data. That data for Florida Republicans is here: https://www.transparencyusa.org/fl/committee/republican-party-of-florida-4700-pty
And Democratic state party expenditures are here: https://www.transparencyusa.org/fl/committee/florida-democratic-party-1539-pty
The data on the best-funded state parties is from OpenSecrets, another org that tracks campaign finance data: https://www.opensecrets.org/political-parties/top-committees?cycle=2022&party=A&type=R
The chart at the end, which compiles spending from the national Democratic Party, was also based on information from OpenSecrets: https://www.opensecrets.org/political-parties
And the data on how much the state parties raised came from Florida Department of State’s campaign finance database: https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/campaign-finance/contributions/
The line chart that shows total voter registrations for each party is based on data that Florida’s Division of Elections makes public: https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/data-statistics/voter-registration-statistics/voter-registration-reports/voter-registration-by-party-affiliation/
Finally, the data around voters who moved to a new state and new Florida registrations from 2020-2023 came from the data vendor L2: https://www.l2datamapping.com/
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