swing state

December 9, 2022

Protecting elections and a backlash to the failed January 6 insurrection drove Republican and independent voters to split their tickets, giving Democrats in top races the support they needed to pull off unexpected victories, according to new polling data. The data, compiled by Citizen Data and Protect Democracy, polled voters in five swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Across those states, 60% of respondents said that protecting democracy was “very important” in determining their voting decision. GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX SUBSCRIBE Voters were also asked to rank their top three most important issues when voting in the midterm, and “protecting elections” ranked third and fourth across the states. In Arizona, it was listed as the fourth-most important issue, with 36% of respondents saying it was their primary focus. Inflation, abortion and immigration took the top three spots in Arizona. Approximately 20% of voters in the five battleground states said preventing another January 6-style incident was one of their main priorities. The January 6 Committee hearings also played a role in voter decisions, the data showed. Over 90% of people who had heard about the committee’s work said that the hearings were either somewhat or very important to their midterm vote, with only 7% saying it wasn’t important at all. Among those who had heard about the hearings, 45.5% said it factored into their voting decisions. In Arizona, registered Republicans and independents who split their votes among GOP and Democratic candidates ranked January 6 as a higher issue than voters who voted only for a single political party. Arizona also had the highest percentage of ticket-splitters who ranked January 6 as an issue, with 20.9% calling it a top issue. That was more than three points greater than the 17.5% of voters who said the same in Wisconsin, the next-highest state. Those who chose to split their ticket often listed support of January 6 as a major reason for doing so, though spreading of conspiracy theories, support of former President Donald Trump and extremist views ranked higher. “It is easy to imagine if there was no January 6 committee, that the events of that day would have faded,” Kristy Parker, an attorney at Protect Democracy and a former federal civil rights prosecutor said during a presentation of the data. Parker added that the committee helped people understand what happened that day and start to create layers of accountability. Mindy Finn, CEO of Citizen Data, which conducted the polling, said that this is the fourth poll the firm has conducted related to January 6 to see how it has impacted voter opinions over time. “The more voters hear and learn from the committee, the more likely they are to penalize politicians connected to January 6,” Finn said. “The data is pretty clear that not only January 6 was very important, but so was the committee itself for voters.” Finn added that the data also dispels a belief that democracy itself isn’t a “kitchen table issue” and it is one that voters are really paying attention to now. “This data really sends a different message,” Finn said. “Just knowing that these issues do matter and they do resonate.” SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST. DONATE Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

November 14, 2022

Given the ease with which GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won re-election in the 2022 midterms, pundits, journalists, and casual politicos are all wondering: Is Florida still a swing state? Well, it seems the general consensus is no … but the exact reason for and proof of the GOP tilt has generated plenty of discussion: It's gone red — because look at DeSantis' landslide victory Even when Florida flipped red in the past, its resulting hue was more of a light pink than a deep burgundy. Republicans would win, but they would win "in nail-biters" — more often narrow victories than major blowouts, mused Charles C. W. Cooke for The National Review. But after DeSantis on Tuesday annihilated his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by a whopping 19 points, "no longer can Florida be seen as a swing state. This is Republican ground," Cooke declared. "For the first time in a long time, Republicans didn't just win in Florida; they won big in Florida." And Rubio's simultaneous blowout of Democratic Rep. Val Demings — who both outraised and outspent her opponent — is just further evidence of a shift. Plus, it's not as though Crist or Demings were particularly progressive Democrats; in fact, Crist used to be a Republican, and Demings "was literally a cop," added Mother Jones' Abigail Weinberg. But even so, both were trounced, further illustrating how "Florida, a state once so closely divided that a 0.009 percent vote differential dictated a presidential election, is a swing state no longer." It's gone red – because Democrats have gone about it all wrong One thing's for sure — Democrats will absolutely have to "rethink their campaigns" in Florida, noted The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. Yes, Florida has been trending Republican for some time, but the latest midterm results are incredibly affirming.  So what did the party do wrong? Well, in one misstep, national Democratic donors "all but abandoned [Florida] this year, spending their money in states where they could get more bang for their buck, like Georgia or Arizona," posited the Editorial Board of the Miami Herald. While such a triage-like strategy may have seemed most efficient, it neglected to cater to Florida's coveted 30 electoral votes and their monumental importance in every presidential election. Instead of sticking with the state, the Democratic party "picked up and left, returning only when it needed votes and often too late." But Republicans "played the long game" — and it paid off. If Democrats' big failure can "teach us anything, it's that you snooze, you lose." It's gone red — because Democrats lost Latino voters  In another telling indication of his success, DeSantis managed to carry Florida's heavily-Latino Miami-Dade County — something no Republican has done since former state Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 — by double digits. In 2016, Hillary Clinton took the county by 29 points; In 2020, President Biden won it by seven. DeSantis himself lost it back in 2018. But it went red on Tuesday. Why? Well, at least in part because Democrats lost Latino voters, Michael Grunwald argued for The Atlantic. Unlike their counterparts, "Republicans actually show up in Latino communities," Grunwald said. The party understood it needed to make inroads with the Florida demographic, especially after losing the White House in 2012, and has been "on the ground" ever since, Democratic strategist Fernand Amandi told Grunwald. But in abandoning the state, Democrats have allowed Republicans to control the Latino voter-facing narrative. For instance, while Spanish-language radio in Florida is "full of right-wing misinformation portraying Democrats as socialists and Communists," those attacks might pack less of a punch if liberal "surrogates" actually showed up to fight back. All in all, Dems "can't win Florida if they can't win around Miami, and they can't win around Miami if they keep hemorrhaging Latino votes." Of course, any future party successes depend on whether Democrats care about their southern demise and actually want to change. But Biden won the election without taking Florida, "and his team seems to be planning to try that again," Grunwald added. So "for the foreseeable future, the ultimate swing state will be just another red state."



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