‘Voting With Their Feet’: New Floridians are Twice as Likely to be Republicans than Democrats

Since March 16, 2020, it’s estimated 394,000 active voters have escaped to Florida. Every one of them is twice as likely to be a Republican as they are to be a Democrat.

Since that day, the day Donald Trump announced “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” which kicked off over two years of mandates, lockdowns, and restrictions over COVID-19, 393,800 Florida voters chose Florida as their new home state and registered to vote during the pandemic, according to L2 data. In percentages, 46% of those voters are Republicans, 23% are Democrats, and 29% are independents. Another percentage: that makes up 3% of Florida’s active voters- all added in less than three years.

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While states across the nation succumbed to fear and locked down, “The Free State of Florida,” led by Governor Ron DeSantis, quickly entered the national spotlight as a haven from draconian COVID-19 measures, as well as from liberal crime and spending policies. After temporarily locking down at the very beginning of the pandemic due to unknowns, Florida fully reopened and stayed open by September 2020, despite nationwide criticism, while blue states maintained restrictions deep into 2021. As Florida Politics writes, this perception created a massive net influx of Floridians.

“From July 2020 to June 2022, Florida’s net migration — the number of people moving to the state minus the number of residents leaving it — was 777,600, according to estimates from the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.”

The Sunshine State has also become home to a variety of conservative commentators. Among them are the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin, both of whom left Los Angeles for  Florida. Fox News’ Lisa Boothe chose “freedom-loving Florida” as her new home. Will Witt, a PragerU veteran, moved from California to Florida to launch The Florida Standard, a rising conservative outlet. DeSantis’ former Press Secretary and Rapid Response Director for Governor DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, is a similar transplant. The common thread: they all have a distaste for liberal governance, especially the closure of schools.

 

Myiah Hutchens, a professor at the University of Florida who researches partisan media, explained the move to Florida Politics.

 

“Florida has been very vocal on a national stage about how they responded to COVID. DeSantis’ current tagline for his run for Governor is ‘keep Florida free.’ That sort of messaging has played out a lot, and we’ve seen that nationally.”

 

All of this evidence leads to an inescapable conclusion; voters are “voting with their feet,” turning the historically purple Florida a solid red to protect the policies and way of life that drew them to the Sunshine State in the first place. Conversely, most new residents who registered to vote in California and New York, the most populous blue states, have been Democrats, according to L2. Dubbed by some as the “Big Sort,” COVID-19 lit a fire under Americans considering relocating to get moving, and no destination for conservatives was more popular than Florida.


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