Q&A – Will Extra Attention To Florida Politics Lead To Higher 2022 Turnout?

Photo: Getty Images North America

Q&A Of The Day – Will Extra Attention On Florida’s Politics Lead To Higher 2022 Turnout?

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Today’s entry: There’s already more 2022 election discussion than I can ever recall for a midterm cycle. Maybe it’s that so much attention is focused on Florida, but what I’m wondering is whether there’s an indication of greater political engagement which could lead to higher voter turnout next year? What do you think? Also which party stands to benefit most from higher turnout in Florida?

Bottom Line: In the context of political cycles, recency bias is something we have to be mindful of when we get to thinking that what’s happening now is more significant than prior cycles. However, I don’t think your perception is recency bias. You’re likely right and being in Florida amplifies everything politically. Especially in the era of Trump and now DeSantis. What’s different now compared to prior cycles is the proliferation of political information and commentary coming from every direction amplified by social media against the backdrop of political movements. Gone are the days when you can even turn on a sporting event without being subjected to political messaging. This hyperpolitical environment exacerbated by significant divisions between the parties politically is leading to greater political engagement and probably will lead to higher voter turnout in Florida and across the country next year. But specific to Florida, this is already a trend which has been underway for several cycles now. 

Florida’s midterm election voter turnout has risen for each of the past four midterm election cycles. Here’s the voter turnout of eligible Floridians:

  • 2006: 47%
  • 2010: 49%
  • 2014: 51%
  • 2018: 63%

There’s clearly a storyline in there as increased voter turnout in midterm elections has become a trend in Florida. In fact, 2018’s turnout nearly equaled 1996’s Presidential Election turnout. Should Florida see that trend continue to rise next year – we would be approaching historical Presidential election level turnout in our state. There’s one reason that explains some of it, independent of external factors. As Florida’s population has grown our average age has risen too. A decade ago, Florida’s average age was 40.7. Today it’s 42.4. Older adults are far more likely to vote compared to younger adults - aging demographics accounts for about 4% of the increase in voter turnout. The rest is just greater engagement. As for how greater engagement impacts elections in Florida?

Republicans have fared best in all of those cycles statewide – winning each gubernatorial race and controlling the state legislature – so level of turnout hasn’t showed a benefit to one party over another. Based on Florida seemingly being the epicenter of the political world and coming out of a pandemic in which people gained the greatest appreciation yet regarding the importance of all elections; I fully expect we’ll continue the streak next year with likely record setting turnout for a midterm election cycle in Florida. 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content