Zest of the Day: Have Floridians Become Straight Ticket Voters?

Interesting analysis from Dave Trotter at “How the World Votes.” He hits some important voting trends in the state but also seems to ignore some other mitigating factors. Still a highly recommended read.

I have noted more and more straight ticket voting in Florida since let’s say since the 1988 Election where George Bush got 61% of Florida’s vote but Connie Mack got just 50% and the GOP won just 45 State House seats. In 1994, The Republicans won 57 State House seats while Jeb Bush won 49% of the statewide vote. That was almost straight ticket voting. That year, most of the races for Cabinet were also unusually close with the winning candidate (popular Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth was an exception) generally getting around 51-52% of the vote.  Republicans won two Cabinet seats that day while Democrats won three plus the Governorship.

In 2000, both Democratic Cabinet nominees ran substantially worse than Presidential nominee Al Gore and Senate nominee Bill Nelson. But interestingly, in some rural counties of North Florida, the Democratic Cabinet nominees ran ahead of Gore’s campaign which was perceived as a liberal/economic populist effort. But Gore ran well ahead of the state Dems in the urban counties.

But in 2010, Democrats won 48% in the Governors race and yet won just 39 State House seats and two candidates for Cabinet both got under 40% of the vote. While the FDP likes to blame district lines for all of the loses at the legislative level (a sentiment most recently echoed by Chairwoman Allison Tant to the News Service of Florida this past week) clearly some ticket splitting is still happening.

I think Mr. Trotter is on to something but that Floridians still have not become uniformly straight ticket voters yet. But the trend line is clearly moving towards fewer and fewer ticket splitters.  His article is certainly worth a read.

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