With every passing day, things are looking better for Donald Trump in Florida. The early vote counts are excellent, with the GOP base turning out in massive drives that have cut into the Democratic advantage big league. It’s starting to worry Democrats in the Sunshine State. They’re bleeding, and there’s a rush to suture the wound before it’s too late. The warning signs have been there for Democrats for months.
Over the summer, field organizers had a mini-revolt, issuing a letter noting how outreach operations in the state were a complete and total disaster. Also, Hispanic support for Trump was through the roof, overperforming the president's 2016 numbers. And in the most populous Democratic country in the state, Miami-Dade, the president and Biden were running neck-and-neck. Biden will probably win the county, yes—but not by the margins needed to flip the state. The Democrats are starting to worry down there, with one warning that says it all (via Politico) [emphasis mine]:
FLORIDA: Trump +2.7 https://t.co/3XHh3IzTrq— PollWatch (@PollWatch2020) October 30, 2020
Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state.
No Democrat can win Florida without a huge turnout and big winning margins here to offset losses elsewhere in the state. But Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans and at lower rates than at this point in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by 29 percentage points here and still lost the state to Donald Trump.
One particular area of concern is the relative share of ballots cast by young voters of color and less-reliable Democratic voters. Part of the problem, according to interviews with a dozen Democratic elected officials and operatives, is the Biden campaign‘s decision to discourage field staff from knocking on doors during the pandemic and its subsequent delay in greenlighting — and funding — a return to door-to-door canvassing.
“Democrats have a big turnout issue in the Hispanic community in Miami-Dade,” said Florida-based Democratic data analyst Matt Isbell. “Hispanic Democrat turnout is only 48% while the Republican Hispanics are at 57%. This large of a gap doesn't exist in Broward or Orange. It is a Miami problem.”
Polling of Florida’s Hispanics has been all over the board. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Telemundo and released Thursday showed Biden leading Trump 48-43 percent among Florida Hispanics, a margin that could be disastrous for Democrats.
“I would rather be in our position than theirs,” said Joshua Geise, Florida director for America Votes, an independent organization coordinating with 50 groups on the ground to turn out voters for Biden.
Geise acknowledged some of the turnout issues in Miami-Dade and said his group ramped up in the past week and had 100,000 conversations at people’s doors in the county, a third of all the face-to-face interactions they had in the entire state. He said Democrats will make a huge push this weekend to halt the Republican gains in early voting.
“We’ve got to stop the bleeding,” Geise said.
One veteran Democratic organizer from South Florida expressed concern that winning Florida looks more difficult by the day as Republicans turn out in big numbers and the pace of Democratic momentum in casting early ballots slows. It’s a sign the party is exhausting its high propensity voters — and the hard-to-motivate voters are tough to turn out.
“Look, our people hate Trump and they like Biden. But not enough of them love Biden,” the organizer said. “It also doesn’t help that the campaign reacted so late here and they didn’t help us with voter registration when we needed to be doing it.”
Let me reiterate that since 1988, the candidate who had the edge in voter enthusiasm has won the election. This cycle that candidate is without doubt President Donald J. Trump.
Florida is likely going to count its votes fast on Nov 3... Models I look at suggest Biden's chance of winning the prez if he wins FL is ~95%. It drops below 50% if he loses FL.— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) August 29, 2020
Last Note: Well, hello, Michigan.
BREAKING: Trump +2.5 in Michigan https://t.co/EBMFdPYGUc— PollWatch (@PollWatch2020) October 29, 2020
Trafalgar was the most accurate battleground state poll in 2016 as well.