Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Florida Looks Like Trump Country

I'm not updating my map just yet, but barring some massive sea change between now and November, I have to predict that Donald Trump will carry Florida again.

Biden is only up by 1.6% in the RealClearPolitics polling average, and the last two polls in that accounting have him up by 2% and tied respectively.

In my opinion, that spread is more than covered by a still-existing polling bias toward urban rather than rural voters (that bias, while diminished from 2016, is still a function of two things -- rural voters who aren't considered "likely voters" but will get out to vote for Trump specifically, and more rural folks cutting the land line cord in favor of cell phones).

Earlier this year, I wasn't seeing the same visible rural enthusiasm for Trump that I saw in 2016. I'm seeing it now. Trump signs, Trump bumper stickers, Trump sign waves on street corners in town, etc. Meanwhile, I've noticed a grand total of four Biden signs in the Gainesville area (two of them in the same yard), and maybe two or three Biden bumper stickers. Local Democrats apparently aren't that enthusiastic about the guy.

And then there's the Latino vote factor.

I'm far from the first to observe that the Latino vote in Florida is not like the Latino vote elsewhere. Here, it's heavily influenced by "anti-Castro" Cuban exile/exile-ancestry politicos whose goal is to keep US-Cuba relations chilly and rake in federal sugar subsidies, etc., until and unless they themselves are carried into Havana on the shoulders of US troops as "liberators" to constitute that country's new ruling class.

Trump undid Obama's tentative moves toward sanity in US-Cuba relations. And Biden is associated with Obama, and therefore with those moves, which threatened to slow or even halt the Cuban "exile" gravy train. So he's got the "anti-Castro" shills working to get out the Cuban exile/exile-ancestry vote for him.

He could really nail down that vote by appointing Barbara Lagoa -- a Floridian and daughter of Cuban exiles -- to fill the latest vacancy on the US Supreme Court. But he probably doesn't have to do that, and is getting at least a little boost just by appearing to consider it (I'm expecting Amy Coney Barrett to get the nod).

If I changed my map just now, my tentative, subject-to-change projection would have Biden at 243 electoral votes and Trump at 230, with Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin still up in the air.

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